Introduction to Astronomy

Ref: C2338832

This course will take you on a journey starting with the Earth and explaining the essential building blocks needed for life to exist. Next you will explore the solar system and the Milky Way, moving on to look at the observable universe and current views about what the universe is made of. Einstein's theory of relativity and the Big Bang will also be part of our study. You will learn about the night sky and how to make sense of it as well common types of telescopes, and may have the chance to use a special telescope to look at the Sun. It may also be possible to visit a local observatory subject to availability.

Course aim

To provide you with a broad, introductory understanding of astronomy and the universe.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe a range of measurements of space - as a number of miles, kilometers, atronomical units, light years - and be able to compare each measure to appreciate the distance between objects in the solar system, the Milky Way and across the universe.
  • Describe the three common types of telescope and the differences between them.
  • Find the North Star using simple astronomical techniques.
  • Explain the composition of the universe in terms of the proportions of visible matter, dark matter and dark energy as currently defined
  • Describe common deep space objects

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Become a member of a local observatory or astronomy society

Download full Course information sheet

Introduction to Astronomy

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This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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