The 6 Best Online Astronomy Courses For Beginners

Astronomy is a fascinating topic that has captured people’s imaginations for centuries. It is the study of the universe beyond our planet Earth and is one of the oldest sciences. Astronomy is a vast subject, encompassing everything from the universe’s formation to the search for extraterrestrial life.

Although astronomy can be studied at any level, from amateur to professional, it is often considered a complex subject. However, with the right resources, it can be easy to get started in astronomy. In this article, we will introduce some of the best online astronomy courses for beginners. Let’s begin!

1. Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space (Coursera)

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Coursera is a well-known and reliable online learning platform that offers a variety of courses in different subject areas. This particular course on astronomy is instructed by Christopher David Impey, a British astronomer and author. He is a Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona.

This course is designed for anyone with interest in modern astronomy, from beginners to those who have some knowledge of the subject. It covers various topics, including the solar system, astrobiology, galaxies, recent astronomical discoveries, etc.

The course is divided into different modules, each consisting of several lectures. There are also quizzes, readings, and assignments to help you learn the material. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate. More than 200,000 students have already taken this course, rated 4.8 out of 5.

2. Astronomy – State of the Art (Udemy)

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Astronomy – State of the Art is also offered by Chris Impey, the same professor who teaches the Coursera course. It is available on Udemy, another popular online learning platform. The co-instructor for this course are Matthew Wenger, a PhD in Astronomy and Martin Formanek, a member of Professor Impey’s Educational Research group.

This course is designed for people who want to learn about the latest and most exciting discoveries in astronomy. It covers topics like black holes, dark matter, exoplanets, life beyond earth, and more. The course also discusses technological innovations that are transforming the field of astronomy.

There are eight modules in this course, each containing multiple lectures. The course has been enrolled by more than 4,538 students and has a rating of 4.6 out of 5. It is available free of cost.

3. Backyard Astronomy: An Introduction to Stargazing (Udemy)

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The Backyard Astronomy course is more about the practical aspect of astronomy, i.e., stargazing. It is designed to help you get started with this hobby and covers all the basics, from choosing a telescope to finding constellations. The best-seller course is offered by Rod Miller, a hobbyist astronomer and entrepreneur.

The course discusses the procedure of observing different astronomical objects such as planets, stars, star clusters, nebulas and even galaxies with the naked eye. You can also learn about the celestial coordinate system and some other fundamental aspects of astrology.

The Backyard Astronomy course consists of 23 videos and several handouts in multiple sections. It is one of the top-rated astronomy courses on Udemy, with a 4.5-star rating and more than 800 students. There is also a sequel to this course, named “Backyard Astronomy 2”, which focuses on Constellations.

4. Astro 101: Black Holes (Coursera)

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Black holes are one of the most fascinating objects in the universe, and this course is all about them. It is offered by Sharon Morsink, an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta. He is also the Director of the Institute of Astronomy, one of the constituent schools of the university.

The course covers topics such as what is a black hole, its properties, how did they form, its relation to stars, etc. You can expect to learn many things related to black holes from this course and understand the basics of Astronomy in the themes of black holes.

The course is enrolled by over 35000 students and has a 4.8-star rating on Coursera. It is available for free and also has a paid option if you want to receive a certificate of completion.

5. XSeries Program in Astrophysics (edX)

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Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy that uses the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry to explore the universe beyond the Earth. This XSeries program in astrophysics is offered by Australian National University and taught by Brian Schmidt, a Nobel prize winner physicist and astronomer and Paul Francis, an astrophysics researcher.

The program consists of four courses, each discussing a different topic in astrophysics. You can expect to learn about the biggest mysteries of the universe, mysteries of exoplanets, the most dangerous places in the universe and more. The program also discusses the origin, fate, and nature of our universe.

Since the course is an XSeries program (created by experts), it is a bit more expensive than other courses on this list. However, it is worth the money as it is one of the most comprehensive astrophysics courses available online.

6. In the Night Sky: Orion 

The In the Night Sky: Orion course is offered by the Open University UK on FutureLearn. The course instructors are Monica Mary Grady and Simon Green. Monica Mary is a well-known British space scientist known for her work on meteors. Both of them are professors of Planetary and Space Science at Open University.

The extensive course covers many things, from the basics of astronomy to the Orion nebula and the seven brightest stars. You can expect to learn a lot about the constellation, night sky, exoplanets, bing bang, sky-watching and more.

The course is not free, as you will need to pay a subscription fee to access all the courses in FutureLearn. There are more than 48,110 students in the course with a 4.2-star rating.

Conclusion

The above list of the best online astronomy courses provides a wide variety of options for those looking to expand their horizons and learn more about astronomy. Whether you are just starting or an experienced astronomer, these courses can help further your knowledge and open doors to new possibilities in the field.

No matter which course you decide to take, you can be sure that you will be provided with a comprehensive and engaging experience – loaded with information, videos, handouts and more. So dive in and explore the world of astronomy!

Good luck on your journey to becoming an astronomer!