Science: galaxies, stars and planets is one of a series of 100-hour flexible online courses introducing fascinating topics in science. It covers the exploration of our Solar System; the discovery of planets orbiting other stars; the birth, life and violent death of stars; and the creation of the Universe itself. It allows you to learn about this topic just for interest and enables you to try out an area of study before you commit yourself to further study. You can register and begin this course at any time and will have at least 6 months to complete it.
Have you ever gazed up into the sky and wondered what lies in the distant reaches of space? This course explores the fascinating science behind the galaxies, stars and planets of the Universe. It will develop your understanding of a wide range of topics in astronomy, with sections on the Sun, planets, stars, extraterrestrial life, galaxies and the origin and evolution of the Universe.
This Science: Galaxies, Stars and Planets course from The Open University UK explains how the Sun gets its energy and how astronomers are able to observe the Sun, even into its interior. You will be introduced to the planets, their satellites and the minor bodies of the Solar System. You will also meet exoplanets, i.e. planets around other stars. The latest ideas about the life cycle of stars, from birth to death, and the cosmic re-cycling of their components are also explored.
You will also meet ideas about the expanding Universe, dark matter, dark energy, the large-scale structure of the Universe and what we know about the very early Universe, shortly after the 'Big Bang'. Many of these topics are at the cutting edge of our understanding but are dealt with in an approachable and (largely) non-mathematical way.
Finally, life beyond the Earth is considered, including its requirements and possible habitats, and the likelihood of alien life – including intelligent life.
Through a series of structured activities you will learn to use the Aladin Sky Atlas (Aladin) program on a PC for interpreting and manipulating astronomical images from space telescopes and ground-based telescopes. Aladin is a leading astronomical software package that is used by professional astronomers and will help you make the transition from just appreciating beautiful astronomical images to also doing quantitative science.
This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.
This course is for people who are new to the subject area. You need little more than an interest in astronomy and the motivation to discover more about it.
Mathematically, you need only to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers. The structured teaching will take you to a level at which you are happy to use maths as a tool in a range of scientific contexts. A maths skills ebook is provided to help you with, for example, fractions, percentages, reading graphs and tables, and scientific units as required by the course.
Check the programme website for information about funding options.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.