Exploring Stars and the Milky Way - 2017

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2018: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Assignment (30%) , Essay (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 2,440.00
Domestic continuing 2,084.00
International 2,690.00
International continuing 2,334.00

Tuition fees are reduced for continuing registered SWI students.
Please login to view the applicable amount.

This unit aims to provide an introduction to the birth, life and death of stars and the structure of our Galaxy. The emphasis is on conceptual astronomy rather than mathematical techniques.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. appreciate and understand the way stars are classified and the approaches used to discover their properties
  2. understand the principles involved in the life cycle of stars, from protostar to stellar remnants
  3. communicate the basic principles and concepts about our Galaxy and its constituents (stars, protostars, stellar remnants, gas clouds, dark matter) in a non-technical way understandable to the wider public
  4. perceive the limits of our understanding of our place in the Galaxy, including an awareness of the place of dark matter in modern astronomical theories
  5. research an astronomy topic in depth, using dependable sources of astronomical information on the internet.
  • Assignment (30%)
  • Essay (20%)
  • Project (30%)
  • Test (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • HET603 — Exploring Stars and the Milky Way

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1The bulk properties and structure of the Sun
2Distance, magnitudes, colours and luminosity of stars
3Spectral lines and spectral types of the stars
4The interstellar medium and the birth of stars
5The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and the ZAMS
6Life on the main sequence, lifetime and mass-luminosity relations
7Evolution of a solar mass star: red giants, planetary nebulae and white dwarfs
8Variable stars
9Supernovae, supernovae remnants and creation of the elements
10End products: neutron stars, pulsars, black holes
11Gamma ray bursts: observations and theory
12Binary star systems, open clusters and globular clusters
13The structure of the Milky Way, the galactic centre, dark matter

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Universe 10e Reprint

    By:Freedman Roger A.

    ISBN: 9781319042387


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Enquire online

    Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
    Make an online enquiry.

    Enquire now

    Ready to enrol?

    Start studying this unit now.


    Got a question?

    Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.