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This free course is a general introduction to galaxies, stars and planets, including scale of the universe from the very large to the very small; orbits and gravity; the Solar System; the Sun and other stars; galaxies and the composition of astronomical objects.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the scale of items within the Universe
- appreciate the wide variety of objects contained in the Universe
- understand the relative sizes of the planets within the Solar System
- calculate how long it takes for light to reach the Earth from the Sun.
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Galaxies, stars and planets
For millennia, people have speculated about our place in the cosmos, with many traditions placing humans literally in a central position. Only in the last few centuries have observations and experiments gradually led us to the humbling conclusion that our position in the wider Universe is unremarkable. This course will describe our position in the cosmos, zooming out into our solar system and to larger scales, and also zooming the other way into microscopic scales. Throughout the journey, the course introduces some of the processes that are seen when viewing the Universe at these sizes.
This course is an adapted extract from the Open University course Learn about galaxies, stars and planets which you can study for credit., or
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course S177 Learn about galaxies, stars and planets.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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