Short Course Online

Science - Galaxies, Stars and Planets

The Open University UK

170 GBP/full
170 GBP/full
Tuition fee
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Science - Galaxies, Stars and Planets module at The Open University UK 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. 

Visit the official programme website for more information


Develop your understanding of a wide range of topics in astronomy by exploring the fascinating science behind the galaxies, stars and planets of the Universe.

What you will study

Have you ever gazed up into the sky and wondered what lies in the distant reaches of space? This Science - Galaxies, Stars and Planets module at The Open University UK 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.

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.

Programme Structure

Demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts, principles, theories and language relating to the study of astronomy. In particular:

  • the electromagnetic spectrum and how it is used to infer properties of sources of radiation
  • the range of sizes, distances and motions of objects in the Universe and how they can be measured
  • the classification and distribution of galaxies in space
  • the structure and history of the Universe
  • stars: their structure, evolution, and the main processes operating in them
  • the cycling of material through stellar death and birth
  • the properties of our Solar System and exoplanetary systems
  • where and how life might be found beyond Earth.

Key information

Start dates & application deadlines

You can apply for and start this programme anytime.



Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • 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.
  • To cope with the written material you should be able to read and understand written English of a style and complexity characteristic of a professional magazine or quality newspaper.
  • You can study at your own pace and attempt the online quiz at any date before the end date for the course. Information about the end date is available when you register and will be at least six months after registration.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    170 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 170 GBP for the full programme
  • National

    170 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 170 GBP for the full programme


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.

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Science - Galaxies, Stars and Planets
The Open University UK


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