Essential Information

Type Talks and courses
Royal Observatory
Date and Times Tuesdays, 6.30-9pm | 10-week modules available from 13 Sept and 29 Nov 2022; 7 Mar 2023
Prices £205 per module

This comprehensive course provides an opportunity for those who are keen to acquire a rigorous scientific understanding of the Universe. Intermediate Astronomy offers a firm grounding in the study of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, the Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy and the wider Universe. This course is an excellent follow-on from Introduction to Astronomy and Introduction to Astrophysics

The course consists of 3 ten-week modules on Tuesday evenings. The course follows the GCSE Astronomy syllabus, but it is not an accredited course. Students are assessed through coursework and receive a certificate of achievement from the Royal Observatory Greenwich on the completion of all modules. 

The modules for the 2022/23 academic year are: 

Module 1: From our Planet to the Night Sky

This module provides a foundation on the Earth and the night sky. The module begins with an introduction of the Earth as a planet and coordinate systems on the Earth. The course then covers the night sky and constellations and how astronomers keep track of objects in the night sky. The course also discusses more practical topics about observing, including optical telescopes as well as observing tasks. Lastly, the course explores the Moon and how the night sky has been used to help with navigation on the Earth. 

  • 13th September - 22nd November 2022 
  • Holiday: 25th October 2022
  • Price: £205

Module 2: Solar System Dynamics

This module provides an introduction to solar systems as well as the objects in our own solar system. The course starts with a focus on the Sun-Earth-Moon system. The module then moves on to planets in our solar system and how the planets and Sun seem to move in the sky from Earth. There is an introduction to historical models of the Solar System as well as an understanding of Solar System dynamics using Kepler’s three laws. Additionally, the module explores the objects in our solar system, including the Sun. Lastly, the module touches on the formation of solar systems as well as planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets. 

  • 29th November 2022 - 28th February 2023
  • Holiday: 13th - 27th December 2022 and 14th February 2023
  • Price: £205

Module 3: Our Galaxy and Beyond

This module provides an introduction to our Milky Way Galaxy as well as other galaxies throughout the Universe. It starts by focusing on stars and their properties, including magnitudes, distances and variability. The course introduces radio telescopes and how telescopes can be used to observe wavelengths of light outside the visible spectrum. There is also material about nebulae and star formation as well as the evolution of stars. The syllabus moves on to galaxies, including the Milky Way, and the distribution of galaxies in the Universe. The course finishes by discussing the Big Bang and the mysterious nature of dark matter and dark energy. 

  • 7th March - 23rd May 2023
  • Holiday: 4th - 11th April 2023
  • Price: £205

Intermediate Astronomy follows the textbook GCSE (9-1) Astronomy: A Guide for Pupils and Teachers. This is included in the price of the course and need not be purchased separately. 

Studying this course requires good scientific and mathematical knowledge and computer literacy. While it is intended for adults, students aged 16 and upwards will be considered for enrolment on a case-by-case basis. We encourage all our prospective students to try the Maths quiz below before deciding to do the course.

This is not an exhaustive list of the types of mathematical concepts you will encounter, but is indicative of the level of understanding required.

After completing this course, students may wish to consider joining our two-year Foundation Astrophysics course, which is our most advanced course in astronomy focusing on topics at a university foundation degree level.

If you are 16+ and are interested in the course, please contact our bookings team (bookings@rmg.co.uk) and we will consider entry on a case-by-case basis.