What is the course about?
This is an introductory course in which you will develop a basic understanding of the night sky, our position in the Solar System, the Milky Way and the Universe. We will use interactive software and apps to explore our solar system and others throughout the galaxy and look at potential habitable worlds. We will investigate how stars are formed and how they evolve and we will glimpse into the future of our star, the Sun. We will take a journey through the Milky Way and beyond, we will see the various beautiful morphologies of other galaxies and the overall structure of our vast never-ending universe. We will end with a brief discussion on the constituents of the Universe and the gaps in our understanding that still need to be filled.
What will we cover?
• The concept of the celestial sphere – how we map the night sky
• The Solar System
• Other solar systems in our galaxy, the Milky Way
• Stellar evolution
• The nature of galaxies
• The structure of the universe – observable and invisible.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• describe the main aspects of the celestial sphere and explain how we track the night sky
• describe the main features and locations of the 8 planets of the Solar System, some of the moons and other objects such as asteroids, dwarf planets and comets
• compare and contrast extrasolar planets with our solar system and state and explain conditions required for life
• state the main steps in the lifecycle of a low mass and high mass star, including the Sun
• describe the basic structure of the Milky Way and how it compares with other galaxies
• describe the structure of luminous and dark matter in the Universe and state the composition of the Universe.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required. However, an enthusiasm for learning and an open and critical mind will enhance your enjoyment and benefit from this course. A good level of English is required to take part in discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Interactive lecture - all information will be supplied via Powerpoint slides which will be made available for download. Be prepared to contribute to class discussion. There will be short online quizzes during the course that can be completed on your mobile phone.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no other costs but you will require a notepad and pen if you wish to take notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look out for our science guest lectures and short courses in our 2020-21 programme.