Free course

Astronomy with an online telescope

Free statement of participation on completion

This free course, Astronomy with an online telescope, shows you how to navigate the night sky, and introduces the wide variety of objects it contains. You will develop a hands-on understanding of telescopic observations using the Open University’s own robotic telescope facility COAST sited on the island of Tenerife. Supported by your own measurements we illustrate how stars evolve, and study variable stars. 

For those new to astronomy and/or the use of robotic telescopes this course provides a practical introduction and will prepare you for further OU study where remotely operable telescopes feature. For those undertaking the GCSE Astronomy course or studying informally the series of structured activities this course contains will allow you to produce a beautiful image of a celestial object of your choice – and analyse the changing magnitude of a variable star over time (one of the approved aided GCSE Astronomy projects).

This OpenLearn science course is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education335339, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.

This course was also developed with the help of the ASTERICS 336340 Horizon2020 project. ASTERICS is a project supported by the European Commission Framework Programme Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation action under grant agreement n. 653477.


Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they’re a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey 341. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey 342. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.


Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content