Astronomy for fun

Look up and behold - the wonders of the Universe! Discover planets, stars, black holes and much more in this introductory course. And no maths or physics required! Weather permitting, observe the cosmos using the outreach telescope of Mt Stomlo's Observatory.

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Teacher Date Day Time Sessions Fee Enrol
Brad Tucker 19 July Wednesday 6-8pm 6 $195 Enrol now

Course outline

  • Introduction to astronomy: a brief look at the way the picture of the universe has changed over centuries, the people who changed it and the tools and methods they used. You'll be introduced to some basic concepts of earth's place in the universe and why the night sky changes over the course of days to years.
  • The private lives of stars: a look at how stars form, live, and die. How do you measure the properties of stars? How does our sun compare? Introducing the "colourful zoo"; white dwarfs, red giants, black holes, etc, and the all-important H-R diagram.
  • Planets and planetary systems: planetary systems are the left-overs of star formation. You will look at the planets of our own solar system, and the hundreds of others that have been discovered in the past decade. You will also look at the "tiny bits"; comets, asteroids and meteors. Finally you will consider the possibility of life on other worlds.
  • Observing night: come warmly dressed for a peek through several telescopes at some of the things we have been discussing. You'll also check out what can be seen on the night sky without a telescope. (This week is weather dependent and may be moved to a following week.)
  • Galaxies: are the basic unit of the universe. You will look at the various types of galaxies, their formation and interactions. How does our galaxy, the milky way, compare? Learn about dark matter and why we can't see it as well as the mysterious jets that some galaxies emit.
  • Cosmology and the future of astronomy: what can you tell about the age, size, and current state of the universe? Finally we look at the future of astronomy and check out some of the projects underway in Australia and overseas.

Learning outcomes

Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of the science of astronomy. You will be able to identify and apply techniques of oberservation to our galaxy and beyond. Identify some of the modern technologies that are applied in this research field and understand how this has impacted our modern life.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who has looked into the night sky and wanted to discover more about what you see. Astronomy speaks to the heart of our human pursuit of discovery and exploration. If you have a passion to understand the Big picture then this course is for you. No prior knowledge of Astronomy (or maths) is necessary.


Dr Brad Tucker is Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, and currently a Research Fellow at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University. His work involves Exploding stars called Supernova and Cosmology, the study of the Universe. A certain type of supernova, called a type Ia, can be used as a standard candle that can trace our Universe's history. In addition to his research he is currently in the process of writing his first popular book and producing a Massive Open Online Course.

Updated:  13 June 2017/ Responsible Officer:  CCE Manager/ Page Contact:  CCE Webmaster