Astronomy at the UCL observatory, Mill Hill

Course Dates: 08/04/19 - 12/04/19
Time: 11:00 - 15:30
Location: OS - Off Site

An intensive course with unique access to the facilities of the UCL Observatory, including practical experiments and solar observations. Learn how stars live and die, the characteristics of the variety of planets that orbit them and discover the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Tutors: UCL staff including Dr Francisco Diego.


What is the course about?

This course provides an overview of the present views on the origin and evolution of the Universe. This includes the formation of matter, atoms, stars, galaxies and planets, and the emergence and evolution of life.

We will follow the lives of stars and discover their essential role in the existence of everything around us, including ourselves.

We will explore the mysterious, invisible 'Ghost Universe' of dark matter and dark energy.

The course features lectures, computer-based practical experiments (with tutorial guidance) and, weather permitting, observations of the Sun, as well as any bright planets and stars visible in daylight, using the Observatory's specialised telescopes.

Please note: There is no on-site parking at the observatory for course participants, and the (first-floor) lecture room is only accessible by stairs. Potential students with mobility concerns are urged to contact the organizers (City Lit) to discuss their needs in advance of registration.

What will we cover?

- A brief history of everything
- The nature of matter and radiation
- The life history of the Sun and stars, from birth to death
- Planets, and life in the Universe
- The Ghost Universe -- into the Darkness
- What we know and the challenges of the unknown.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Explain the current understanding on how the Universe came to be
- Describe how stars produce the chemical elements that make our bodies
- Outline how planets are discovered around distant stars
- Speculate about the existence of different kinds of life beyond Earth
- State what we do and do not know about the make-up of the Universe.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory-level course aimed at both those who already have an interest in astronomy and people with no previous knowledge of the subject. The course has no mathematics, but basic computer skills (use of keyboard and mouse) would be an asset.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be a mixture of lectures and computer-based practical experiments, with ample opportunity to interact with lecturers and demonstrators. Students will be shown the telescopes of the University of London Observatory, with observing if weather permits. There is no work outside of class hours.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All necessary materials will be supplied. Light refreshments may be purchased on-site or in nearby shops, but students are very welcome to bring sandwiches or other items for lunch.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HS022 Astronomy for fun
HS005 A gentle introduction to astronomy
HS121 Further cosmology
HS135 Astronomy in focus: Human exploration to the moon and beyond
HS094 The history of science
HS201 Cosmic perspectives for world history.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 1 item(s)

Write a review
I attended this course in April 2017 and really enjoyed it, the people running the course were welcoming and friendly, the UCL observatory in Mill Hill is a great setting. The course works on different levels from a general introduction to astronomy to providing a good grounding in the subject, it depends on what the individual wants to get out of it and the team running the course are happy to adapt to individual requirements.

I had a general interest in astronomy when I attended the course having watched a few TV programmes and read a popular science book on the subject but no real understanding. I found the course content fascinating, it was well structured and delivered in an informal setting with great enthusiasm and personal engagement. It really caught my imagination and I am now on my second year of studying astronomy with the Open University and I recently became a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

If you are just curious about astronomy or want a true insight in the subject I would recommend this course. It will give you a good understanding of what astronomy is all about and if you are like me open up a whole new area for you to explore and enjoy.
Course Rating
Review by John / (Posted on 13/02/2019)

Book your place

Course Code: HS001

Mon-Fri, day, 08 Apr - 12 Apr '19

Duration: 5 sessions

Full fee: £259.00
Senior fee: £207.00
Concession: £158.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.