Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
Tuesdays, 12 September 2017–22 May 2018 | 7–9pm
£150 per module
Planetarium & Astronomy Centre
Astronomy courses
Talks & courses

Study astronomy topics at foundation degree level, without the costs.

Our foundation astrophysics programme is an opportunity to study without the cost of accreditation or the pressure of examinations, but require knowledge of basic science and algebra.

While these courses are not formally accredited, students are assessed through coursework and receive certificates of achievement from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, on the completion of all modules. There are six ten-week modules in the programme that run over two years, which do not have to be studied in order.

Tutor: Roger O’ Brien.


Module information 2017/18


Module 4: Stars
This course provides an excellent foundation on the physics of stars. The course begins by exploring with the motion and distance of the stars before moving on to look at physical properties such as size, temperature, spectral class, luminosity, magnitude and mass. The course then explores the formation, evolution and demise of high and low mass stars and the dense objects they leave behind. The course closes with the recycling of the interstellar medium and the metallicity of stars.
Module 5: Galaxies
This course explores our current understanding of galaxies. The course begins by exploring the structure and makeup of the Milky Way and the various stellar populations of which it is composed. The nature of open clusters, globular clusters and the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy are also covered. The syllabus then moves on to explore the classification, distances and observation of other galaxies and various types of active galactic nuclei. The course closes with an exploration of galaxy formation.
Module 6: Cosmology
This course provides a solid introduction to modern cosmology. The course begins with the spatial distribution of galaxies and evidence for the Big Bang. The geometry of space-time and various cosmological models are also discussed. The course then moves on to explore observational cosmology, exploring the age and rate of expansion of the universe before addressing its thermal, energy and particle evolution. Finally the course investigates problems encountered in modern cosmology and a number of possible solutions, including quantum theories of gravity and the anthropic principle.