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The Local Universe

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This lecture-based course covers astronomy topics relating to the celestial objects we see within our own galaxy. A team of astronomers will teach you about planets, stars and the Milky Way, as well as the technology which makes our understanding possible.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

A basic understanding of mathematical concepts at Standard Grade, GCSE, O level or equivalent would be useful but this is not an essential requirement.

Content of Course

1. Observing the Universe.

2. The Sun.

3. Stars.

4. Stellar Evolution.

5. The Solar System.

6. Extrasolar Planets.

7. Black Holes.

8. Cosmology.

9. The Milky Way.

10. Revisions.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures and discussion / tutorial sessions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the celestial objects that compose the local universe;

  • Demonstrate basic grounding in relevant mathematical concepts such as distance measures, parallax and luminosity;

  • Show awareness of the latest in astronomy research in these fields;

  • Grasp more clearly what current limitations remain to our understanding.


Core Readings


No essential reading - the course is intended to be fully self-contained.


  • Zeilik, M., 2002. Astronomy: the Evolving Universe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Moore, P. & Lintott, C., 2001. Astronomy for GCSE. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd.

  • Van Zyl, J.E. ,1996. Unveiling the Universe. London: Springer.

  • Holliday, K. ,1998. Introductory Astronomy. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Web Sources

Many major observatories and telescopes have their own websites with useful information and astronomy-related links, e.g.:

Class Handouts

PDFs of lecture slides will be available on request.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.