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Free course

In the night sky: Orion

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In the night sky: Orion Copyrighted Icon

From the basics of astronomy and stargazing, to the science behind the birth of a star, this four-week course will change the way you see the night sky. You’ll examine one of the most famous constellations, Orion, who the Ancient Greeks believed was a huntsman placed among the stars by Zeus himself.

Starting with its famous nebula where new stars and planets are being formed, you’ll take a look at the seven brightest stars that make up this constellation, including the supergiants Rigel and Betelgeuse, using high-quality images from telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

You’ll find out about exoplanets, planets that orbit other stars just as we orbit the Sun and may hold the secrets to life outside of the solar system. Finally you’ll think about the Milky Way, the galaxy of which our solar system is but one small part, and consider the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the present.

Requirements

You do not need a professional telescope for this course, but you may find at least a pair of binoculars extremely useful.

No prior experience of the subject is required.

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


Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand facts, concepts, principles, theories, classifications and language used in astronomy

First Published: 17/06/2015

Updated: 04/02/2020

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