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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


The deadline for booking a place on this course has passed. Please use the 'Ask a Question' button to register your interest in future or similar courses.

Assuming no prior knowledge, as celestial traveller's we'll obtain a step-by-step overview of this corner of our amazing cosmos, through the full-spectrum eyes of our present golden era of astronomy, as evidenced by 2019s first ever image of a black hole and the Hubble image of a quarter of a million galaxies at every stage of evolution back to 500 million years after the Big Bang. We shall undertake a grand tour, starting outwards from our favourite star, passing the asteroids and planets, explored by many great missions, such as Cassini–Huygens, that compose, possibly a unique, solar system and taking us to the edge of our island universe, the Milky Way, taking in all manner of cosmic wonders along the way. We shall consider the likelihood of finding life beyond the Earth, both in our own planetary system, and amongst the present torrent of exoplanet discoveries, currently standing around at about 4000 exoplanets. The journey will continue into the wider stellar neighbourhood, partaking in vistas that include the gentle birth of stars to their cataclysmic demise, possibly as supernovas, leaving behind gently expanding beautiful remnants, like the Crab, in an endless recycling of material. However, without such violence we might not be here to witness it. Perhaps we shall be guided by the beams of light provided by the lighthouses of the universe, the super-dense pulsars, generated from their  dizzying rotations. No doubt we shall witness the most violent of all events, the birth scream of black holes, as subtly detected, now almost weekly, by gravitational wave detectors. And, thanks to missions like Gaia, we now observe our galaxy growing and evolving as it cannibalizes smaller galaxies, in a fashion eerily similar to that of the monster lying at its heart, a supermassive black hole.


Fees & bursaries


The course fee includes access to the course on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), personal feedback on your work from an expert tutor, a Certification of Participation (if you complete work and take part in discussions), and access to the class resources for two years after your course finishes.

VAT does not apply to course fees and there is no service charge (gratuities to domestic staff are left to your discretion).


For more information on available bursaries please see here.

Course dates

03 Jan 2022 to 20 Feb 2022

Course duration

7 Weeks. This course is completed entirely online

Apply by

03 Jan 2022

Course fee


Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Qualifications / Credits


Course code