Essential Information

Type Talks and courses
Royal Observatory
Date and Times Tuesdays, 6.30-9pm | 10-week modules begin from 14 Sept, 30 Nov & 8 Mar
Prices £200 per module

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 next year are:

Module 1: 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.

  • 14th September - 23rd November 2021 (Holiday on 26th October)
  • Price: £200

Module 2: 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.

  • 30th November 2021 - 1st March 2022 (Holiday on 14th - 28th December, 15th February)
  • Price: £200

Module 3: 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.

  • 8th March - 24th May 2022 (Holiday on  5 - 12 April)
  • Price: £200


Planetarium Show

See what's on at the Peter Harrison Planetarium

Enjoy a planetarium show and meet real astronomers and get answers to some of the biggest questions in the universe.