Essential Information

Type Courses
Royal Observatory
Date and Times Tuesdays, 6.30-9pm | 10-week modules available from 12 Sept and 28 Nov 2023; 5 March 2024
Prices £200 per module
Sold out
Sold out

This course has now sold out. Sign up to our space newsletter to be first to hear when next year's courses are available.

Our Foundation Astrophysics programme provides people with the opportunity to study a number of topics in astronomy at foundation degree level, without the costs associated with accreditation or the pressure of examinations. These courses require knowledge of basic science and algebra.

While 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, which do not have to be studied in order. Each module runs on consecutive Tuesdays with gaps during holidays (details below).

Note: Each course is intended to be run on-site at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, but will transfer to an online course run via Zoom in the case of Covid restrictions. Please only book if you are certain you will be able to attend an on-site course.

The modules running for the 2023/24 academic year are:


Module 4: Stars (SOLD OUT)

This first module offers an introduction to the physics of stars, from motion and distance, through size, luminosity and spectral class. It will cover the formation and evolution of stars from birth right through to their eventual demise and takes a look at the remnants they leave behind.

  • 12th September - 21st November 2023 
  • Holiday: 24th October 2023
  • Price: £200

This module has now sold out.


Module 5: Galaxies

This module explores the our current understanding of galaxies, starting with the structure and make-up of our own, the Milky Way, and the populations of star that reside within. Later, the tutor covers the supermassive black holes found within them and the classification of galaxies across the Universe, before finishing with a look into their formation. 

  • 28th November 2023 - 27th February 2024
  • Holiday: 12th - 26th December 2023 and 13th February 2024
  • Price: £200


Module 6: Cosmology (SOLD OUT)

In this final module for the year, the topic turns to cosmology, the study of the formation and evolution of the Universe. The tutor will cover the distribution of galaxies throughout the Universe and the evidence for the Big Bang, before looking at the geometry of space-time. Finally, the course will discuss the problems that still exist in modern cosmology and their possible solutions, including quantum theories of gravity and the anthropic principle.

  • 5th March - 21st May 2024
  • Holiday: 2nd - 9th April 2024
  • Price: £200

Everyone taking a course at the Royal Observatory is entitled to a 10% discount for books purchased from Royal Museums Greenwich - please check with your course tutor for more details!

Meet the tutor - Roger O'Brien

Roger has been an amateur astronomer for more than six decades. He graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BSc in Astronomy in 1995, where staff sponsored him as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. His professional tutoring experience includes teaching at the Open University, City Lit and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, leading a wide range of courses from very basic to undergraduate level. Roger finds the variety stimulating and still enjoys doing some actual observing, volunteering as a demonstrator at the Hampstead Observatory. On the more theoretical side, he has a keen interest in Cosmology. 

A well organised course. Roger is an excellent tutor

Course taker autumn 2022

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