Home activities and learning resources

Last updated: 1st May 2020

Please find below a list of (mostly!) astronomy and science activities, lectures, courses, etc. to help you pass the time.

I will update this page from time to time with new links, etc.

Feel free to suggest new items – you can do so via the contact form at the bottom of the page

Best wishes,
Mark Galvin,
Hon. Secretary,
Liverpool Astronomical Society


Activities and learning resources

Things on particular days/time-limited

Things you can do at any time

Things to listen to

Internet Radio

Podcasts – Science and Astronomy 

Nb. Most podcasts are available either from their own URLs via a browser, or via your normal podcatching app (e.g. Pocket Casts)

  • Astronomy Cast – A great podcast which has been running for quite a few years, each episode tackling a particular astronomical item. There are now well over 500 episodes of about 30 minutes each.
    • http://www.astronomycast.com/
    • See also ‘Astronomy Cast Full Raw Feed’ which, while not as polished, includes a Q&A session at the end of each episode.
  • Nature – science and astronomy
  • BBC sounds – many space and astronomy podcasts available including the recent ’13 minutes to the moon’ about Apollo 11 and 13
  • The Life Scientific (hosted by Jim Alkalili)
  • Discovery – science stories
  • In Our Time (hosted by Melvyn Bragg) – various topics, some astronomical, each episode about a particular topic

Podcasts – Non astronomical but may be of interest

  • The British History Podcast – Detailing the history of Britain from the pre-Roman era to the present.
  • Lore – Curious tales of strange events, people and folklore: “Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction. Each episode examines a new dark historical tale in a modern campfire experience”
  • Unobscured – from the same author as Lore; series long examinations of specific times in history. S1 is an in-depth look at the Salem Witch Trials; why people acted how they did, what led to their behaviour, etc. S2 is about the Spiritualist Movement.

Things to watch – astronomical, space and science related

Nb. See also the Things to learn section, as many of those can simply be watched rather than participating

Things to watch – non astronomical

Things to learn

Want to add something to this list? Send it in with the form below!

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Mental Health & Wellbeing (by Kate Bettley)

Please find below some resources collated by LAS council member Kate Bettley

Here are some free websites, online therapies and Apps you can use to help you manage mental health and Wellbeing, particularly during Covid-19 Crisis. Although these links are not directly related to Astronomy, I thought some may find the below information useful. At LAS, we are members and friends and I think it is good to look out for each other during these strange times. These links may be useful to you, or feel free to pass to family members.

When in self isolation or affected by Corona Virus:

These links provide information about how to look after your mental health, and the mental health of those around you, specifically in reference to Covid-19. They provide information about how to talk to children about the outbreak, how to manage self-isolation, and how to handle the news coverage:

Self-help to manage your mental wellbeing

These links take you to websites that provide general mental health advice, and tips to support
yourself.

Online self-help booklets and resources – including audio guides.

The online booklets cover a variety of issues, from anxiety, to low mood, to difficulty sleeping, and to loss and bereavement. The booklets provide information about what you may experience if you have any of these difficulties, as well as providing advice for how you may support yourself and manage your situation.

Online self-help programs for sleep and mental health.

The following links are for online programmes that can help you with a variety of issues including anxiety, low mood, and difficulty sleeping:

Apps you may find useful

Self Help for Anxiety Management SAM might be perfect for you if you’re interested in self-help, but meditation isn’t your thing. Users are prompted to build their own 24-hour anxiety toolkit that allows you to track anxious thoughts and behaviour over time, and learn 25 different self-help techniques. You can also use SAM’s “Social Cloud” feature to confidentially connect with other users in an online community for additional support.

  • Happify, Need a happy fix? With its psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app is your fast-track to a good mood. Try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.
  • The Headspace app makes meditation simple. Learn the skills of mindfulness and meditation by using this app for just a few minutes per day. You gain access to hundreds of meditations on everything from stress and anxiety to sleep and focus. The app also has a handy “get some headspace” reminder to encourage you to keep practicing each day.
  • Calm provides people experiencing stress and anxiety with guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music. This app is truly universal; whether you’ve never tried meditation before or regularly practice, you’ll find the perfect program for you.
  • Smiling mind is a way to practice daily meditation and mindfulness exercises from any device. Smiling Mind is a unique tool developed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to your life. This is really helpful during times of stress and is a fun and unique way to help you put a smile on your mind.

Other NHS approved apps can be discovered here:
https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/

Support Services:

Below are telephone numbers and website details of support organisations that you may find it beneficial to contact at this time:

Support for parents:

The below links may be helpful for children or teenagers, or for parents looking for further advice for how to support their child:

General links unrelated to mental wellbeing.

There are many links for free recipes that you can get with a simple online search, these two are my personal favourites:

Celebrity chef Joe Monroe gives away her recipes for cheap but delicious food.
https://cookingonabootstrap.com/

A range of recipes from easy to the more adventurous.
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/feature/stay-home-get-cooking

If still in need of inspiration, try the Active Coping Calendar – it has daily actions for April 2020 to help us look after ourselves and each other as we face this global crisis.
https://www.actionforhappiness.org/active-coping-april

Some nature based links which may bring a smile to your face!

A link to a list of interesting resources and boredom busting from links to Nasa live, to museum and art galleries, African safari cameras, free courses, you name it, this link will likely have it!
https://chatterpack.net/blogs/blog/list-of-online-resources-for-anyone-who-is-isolated-at-home

I hope my fellow members of LAS find these links useful.

Keep Safe,
Kate Bettley


Personal resilience during COVID 19 Crisis (by Kate Bettley)

We are in unusual and uncertain times and many of us are worried about how Coronavirus (Covid 19) could affect our lives. This might feel difficult or stressful but there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

I personally like the evidence based ‘5 ways to wellbeing’, and therefore I thought I would share this with you.

Connect:

As social distancing is playing havoc with our usual personal connections you may wish to think outside of the box. A few suggestions:

  • If working from home, make time to catch up with your colleagues over lunch – by having a video lunch.
  • Simply phone friends and family regularly.
  • Watch a film with a friend and chat about it by messaging each other.
  • Face time/Skype friends and family.
  • Play online board games with friends and family.

Learning:

Evidence shows that learning new skills boosts our mental wellbeing. As many of us are having to change our ways, this is a great opportunity to learn and develop new skills.

Active

Whilst social distancing and self-isolating, you may find being active difficult, it’s not! Simply use what’s around you.

  • Use that staircase!
  • Gardening – enjoy time in the garden building up a sweat
  • Use exercise videos available on the internet or dust off your old exercise DVDs.
  • Dance around the house – alone or with your family!
  • Get out in the open, take a walk or a bike ride, enjoy the spring around you.
  • You may find this link useful: https://www.sportengland.org/news/how-stay-active-while-youre-home

Take Notice

  • Take a look out of the window and notice the beauty in the world around you, day or night – Notice the changing season
  • Savour the moment.
  • Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Give

  • Do something nice, for a friend or a stranger – perhaps a neighbour is self-isolating – offer your help.
  • Contact a fellow member of the society and see how they are doing.
  • Give a smile or wave to someone passing by your window.
  • Offer your time to volunteer – you can do this remotely or in person (whilst maintaining social distancing).
  • Give a donation to charity

Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be very rewarding and can help you create a connection with those around you.

I hope you find bringing these five simple steps into your daily routine helpful – just
remember C.L.A.N.G.Connect, Learn, Active, Notice, Give.

Kate Bettley
Council Member LAS