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Best Online Astronomy Courses for Beginners

Whenever you learn about the stars, planets, or space, you are engaging in the branch of science known as astronomy. Astronomy is the study of the universe, and that includes all objects in space as well as all the phenomena happening in space.

You can learn about astronomy through books, clubs, or classes in school. However, some books and classes can be expensive or hard to come by. Online courses are a great alternative to learn any subject, including astronomy!

Online astronomy classes are easily accessible. You need access to a computer and the internet. They are also convenient because you can take most of them when you have the time and/or focus on completing them. Online astronomy courses help you learn more about the universe in a manner that is more convenient for you and your education.

If you are unsure where to look, here are some great online courses for beginners regarding different topics in astronomy.

Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology

 

1. Astronomy-State of the Art

Given by Professor Chris Impey from the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, this course aims to teach you about the most recent discoveries and developments in astronomy. Impey strives to cover the basics about the universe in order to engage with new research in the field of astronomy. The course begins with a brief introduction that moves outwards from Earth to the Cosmos at large. The course ends with a discussion on other life in the universe.

This course is great for beginners who like thinking small and then big, but it is also great for those who are interested in developments happening right now in astronomy.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 7.5 hours of video with 11 readings
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 2,711 reviews
Rating: 4.6

Visit course on Udemy

 

2. How Big is Our Universe? (Astronomy and Cosmology)

This course is specifically designed to explore the size and scope of our universe. Drawing from cosmological documentaries, the course closely examines black holes, microwave radiations, characteristics of the Solar System, and the formation of celestial bodies. The course begins with a look at the Solar System and then moves into a study of black holes and cosmic microwave radiation.

If you are particularly interested in the size of our universe, as well as the formation of stars and black holes, this course would be a great place to start.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 1.5 hours of video
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment

Visit course on Udemy

 

3. Backyard Astronomy: An Introduction to Stargazing

Just as the title suggests, this course is designed for everyone to learn about the stars that they can see from their own backyard. The course teaches you what you are able to see outside with different instruments, including the eye, binoculars, or a telescope. The program teaches you how to read a star chart, which will help you navigate the night sky.

This course is great for anyone who wants to become adept at looking at the night sky and recognize the different bodies and constellations.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 15 hours of video with 4 resources
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 1,890 reviews
Rating: 4.3

Visit course on Udemy

 

4. Backyard Astronomy II

This is the second class in a two-part sequence. This course follows “Backyard Astronomy: An Introduction to Stargazing” and expands on the instruction within the first course. This course refines your ability to identify objects in the night sky, and it takes your studies one step further by looking at zodiac and constellation sets. You will explore where the constellations came from and why. You will also be able to assess the night sky as it changes between seasons and months.

This course is great for those keenly interested in the movement of the night sky and the identification of constellations.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 15 hours of video with 4 resources
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 16 reviews
Rating: 4.3

Visit course on Udemy

 

Introduction to the Universe

 

5. The Big Bang and the Anthropic Principle

Using different scientific methodologies and techniques, this program explores the plausibility of the Big Bang, or whether the Big Bang happened or not. The course poses several questions to approach the topic. The course discusses if the Big Bang follows current laws of physics and science. Along the way, you will develop a basic understanding of metaphysics. It examines the statistical possibility of the Big Bang. It also offers diverse perspectives by including philosophical perspectives of life and theory.

If you are particularly interested in the Big Bang, especially the science and possibilities behind it, this course would be great for your studies.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 2 hours of video, 3 articles, and 9 resources
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 8 reviews
Rating: 4.8

Visit course on Udemy

 

6. Stars, Black Holes, and Galaxies

Created by the Khan Academy, this comprehensive course looks exclusively at stars, black holes, and galaxies. The course first outlines how stars are formed and born. It looks at specific kinds of stars, such as red giants, white dwarves, and supernovas. The course follows the star lifecycle to a discussion of black holes and their types. The course includes an entire unit on parallax and Cepheid variables, both of which will make sense once the previous units are taken.

This course does a great job of building information to give complex understandings of stars and black holes. If you are interested in stars, in particular, check out this course.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 4 hours of video
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment

Visit course on Khan Academy

 

7. Scale of the Universe

Also from the Khan Academy is a course that attempts to tackle the size and scale of the universe. The course begins here on Earth and then moves outward to compare the Earth to the size of the galaxy. Integral to size and scope is the concept of time, which is the second major topic of the course. Following time is an explanation of light and light speeds that move through the universe. The final sections discuss the Big Bang and the ever-expanding nature of the universe.

This is a great guide for beginners to learn about the vastness of space, as well as some of the components that go into space that are forgotten (such as time and light).

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 4 hours of video
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment

Visit course on Khan Academy

 

Astrology and Star Constellations

 

8. Astrological Forecasting for Everyone

This course tries to make the ideas of astrology and astrological forecasting as simple as possible. Through unintimidating and simplistic language, this course will teach you the fundamentals of astrology, such as signs, houses, and planets. The goal of the course is to teach you enough information to write and read your own forecasts by the end. The course slowly builds upon itself to assure that you are not lost or confused along your learning path.

If you want to learn about the components of astrology and astrological forecasting, this course will be a great guide for you to get started.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 6.5 hours of video, 1 article, 146 resources
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 36 reviews
Rating: 4.7

Visit course on Udemy

 

9. Greek Mythology in Astronomy

This course connects the constellations in the night sky to their mythical counterparts in Greek mythology. Many of the constellations come from stories found in Greek mythology and literature. Taking the stories of Orion (the great hunter), Perseus, Orpheus, and Phaethon, the course explores how the constellations remind us of the great Greek legends, traditions, and stories developed in Ancient Greece.

This course is great for those more interested in the stories behind the constellations rather than the astronomy of the stars.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 35 minutes of video
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 4 reviews
Rating: 3.3

Visit course on Udemy

 

Astrobiology and Life on Other Planets

 

10. Astronomy: Where Do We Stand in the Universe?

This course explores humankind’s place in the universe and our perspectives of humankind when faced with the great expanse and unknown realm of space. The course will trace some of the histories of humankind’s ideas about our place in the universe. It will also trace moments in time when humans made great discoveries in astronomy, which inevitably changed how we saw and treated space.

If you are interested in moments when our views of the universe and our place in it changed, this is a great course to take.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 33 minutes of video and 5 articles
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment
Reviews: 52 reviews
Rating: 4.3

Visit course on Udemy

 

11. Super-Earths and Life

Created at Harvard University, this course focuses on the life that exists in the universe, including life on Earth and other planets. The kinds of life forms that exist on our planet and on others can tell us a lot about the universe, its structure, and how it is formed. You will first take a close look at how life has grown on Earth and apply that knowledge to other planets. You will also look at planets that have environments similar to Earth, and that could host life. This course combines astronomy with the fields of biology and geology to ask if other life forms exist beyond our planet.

Other forms of life may be out there, and this course is a great introduction to figuring out how and where they may exist.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 7 weeks (5-8 hours per week)
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment

Visit course on edX

 

12. Life on Earth and in the Universe

Are you interested in the development of humans? Are you wondering if life forms like us could exist out in the universe? This course strives to answer those questions. In this course, you will first learn how life came to be on this planet, which includes studies of the first living organisms and human evolution in different parts of the world. After learning about the rise of humans, you will see how scientists date objects in space. After obtaining these skills and knowledge, you will finally look at possible civilizations beyond Earth.

If you are interested in anthropology or rise of life forms, check out this course. It will get you started in learning about carbon dating and the development of life.

Course Details

Level: Beginners
Duration: 4.5 hours of video
Start Date: Open anytime, accessible after enrollment

Visit course on Khan Academy

 

The Universe is at Your Fingertips

There are numerous courses online that can help you learn about different topics in astronomy. Many of these are free or low-cost. Additionally, so many of these programs allow you to learn and move at your own pace. You don’t have to worry about making time to learn when you have the freedom to access these courses any time you want.

Learning about the universe can be difficult, but these online courses will make it simple and easy. All you need to do is decide what topic interests you. Once you have done so, you are ready to access the knowledge of the universe from the comfort of your own home.

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