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Online course

In the Night Sky: Orion

Explore the night sky and improve your knowledge of astronomy, all through the constellation of Orion.

Why join the course?

This online astronomy course will change the way you see the night sky.

You’ll examine one of the most famous constellations Orion. Starting with its nebula, where new stars and planets are formed, you’ll take a look at the seven brightest stars that make up Orion using high-quality images, including from the Hubble Space Telescope.

You’ll learn about exoplanets and the secrets to life outside our Solar System. And you’ll think about the Milky Way, considering the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the present.

The course was produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Observing and photographing the night sky
  • Constellations and Orion in particular
  • Star formation and stellar evolution
  • Nuclear fusion in stars
  • Supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes
  • The Milky Way and other Galaxies
  • The Big Bang and the evolution of the Universe
  • Dark matter & dark energy
  • The Solar System, especially asteroids and comets
  • Planets around other stars

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Apply facts, concepts, principles, theories, classification systems and language used in astronomy.
  • Develop the knowledge and understanding of the range of sizes, distances and motions of objects in the night sky.
  • Develop the knowledge and understanding of the structure, evolution and the main processes operating in stars.
  • Develop the knowledge and understanding of the properties of planets in our Solar System and exoplanetary systems.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of the history of the Universe.

Who is the course for?

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.

Who will you learn with?

Monica Grady

I am a researcher in planetary & space sciences at the OU, interested in comets, asteroids and meteorites, and what they can tell us about the Solar System. Asteroid 4731 is named Monicagrady.

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.


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Join this course


  • Access to this course for 6 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime
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