IGCSE Astronomy

Edexcel IGCSE
Our IGCSE Astronomy Course is the perfect introduction to astronomy for stargazers, budding cosmologists and those fascinated with the beauty of space.
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Studying IGCSE Astronomy will help you cultivate fundamental skills both universities and employers value highly, such as scientific thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to evaluate observations and methodologies.

A qualification in astronomy opens the doors to a diverse range of scientific careers such as becoming a meteorologist, a planetarium director, a science museum curator or even an engineer! It’s the first step into astronomy but a giant leap for your future.

What you will learn

  1. Unit 1 - Essential Maths Skills for Astronomy

    • Decimal arithmetic
    • Standard form arithmetic
    • Ratios, fractions and percentages
    • Logarithms
    • Squares, square roots and cubes
    • Significant figures
    • Arithmetic means
    • Specialist units
    • Light year calculations
    • Probability
    • Order-of-Magnitude calculations
    • Use of symbols
    • Rearranging equations
    • Use of appropriate units
    • Solving equations
    • Graphical and numerical information
    • Plotting variables
    • Slopes and intercepts
    • Angles
    • Degrees, minutes and seconds
    • Subtended angles
    • Right ascension & declination
  2. Unit 2 - Aided and Unaided Observations

    • Observation tasks guide
    • How to observe the night sky
    • Lunar features
    • Meteor shower
    • Lunar or solar eclipse
    • Celestial event
    • Light pollution
    • Sunspots
    • Variable star
    • Stellar density
    • Shadow stick
    • Stellar density
    • Messier objects
    • Sidereal day
  3. Unit 3 - Planet Earth

    • The internal structure of the Earth and Moon
    • The atmosphere
    • Determination of longitude
  4. Unit 4 - The Lunar Disc

    • The Moon’s features
    • Surface features
    • Lunar libration
  5. Unit 5 - The Earth-Moon-Sun System

    • Eclipses
    • Tidal forces
    • Precession
    • Precession of the Earth’s axis
    • Erathosthenes and aristarchus
    • Measuring the Solar System


  6. Unit 6 - Time and the Earth-Moon-Sun Cycles

    • Finding your place on Earth
    • The Horological Solution
    • The equation of time (EOT)
    • Timezones
    • Sundials and shadow sticks
    • Phases of the Moon
  7. Unit 7 - Solar System Observation

    • Observing the Sun safely
    • Comets and meteors
    • The movement of planets
    • Scale and size of the Solar System
  8. Unit 8 - Celestial Observation

    • Star maps, charts and planispheres
    • The Celestial Sphere
    • Constellations
    • Asterisms
    • Local sidereal time
    • Celestial coordinates
  9. Unit 9 - Early Models of the Solar System

    • Gravity and the Inverse Square Law
    • Calculating gravity
    • Kepler’s laws
  10. Unit 10 - Exploring the Moon

    • Inside the Moon
    • The far side of the Moon
    • Travelling to the Moon
    • Exploring the Moon
  11. Unit 11 - Solar Astronomy

    • Structure of the Sun
    • Sunspots
    • Solar wind
    • Wavelengths of the Sun
    • Nuclear fusion
  12. Unit 12 - Exploring the Solar System

    • Mercury
    • Venus
    • Earth
    • Mars
    • Jupiter
    • Saturn
    • Uranus
    • Neptune
    • Dwarf Planets
    • Astronomical units
    • Recent space missions
    • Telescopes
  13. Unit 13 - Formation of the Planetary Systems

    • The formation of planetary systems
    • Tidal and gravity factors
    • Building planetary systems
    • Atmospheres
    • Exoplanets
    • Aliens
  14. Unit 14 - Exploring Starlight

    • The fifty brightest stars
    • Classification
    • Stellar spectrum and magnitude
    • Hertzprung-Russell diagram
    • Parsecs and distances
    • Radio astronomy
  15. Unit 15 - Stellar Evolution

    • Labelling stars
    • The Messier Objects
    • Types of stars
    • Gravity and pressure
    • Emission and absorption nebula
  16. Unit 16 - Our Place in the Galaxy

    • The Milky Way
    • Types of galaxies
    • Active galaxies
    • Formation of galaxies
  17. Unit 17 - Cosmology

    • Doppler effect
    • Origins of the Universe
    • Dark Matter
  18. Unit 18 - Preparing for the Exam

    • Practice Paper 1 – Naked Eye Astronomy
    • Practice Paper 2 – Telescopic Astronomy

Awarding Body

edexcelEdexcel is the UK’s largest awarding organisation offering academic and vocational qualifications in schools, colleges and workplaces in the UK and abroad. Edexcel is a multinational education and examination body covering A-Level Courses and GCSE Courses.

Course Outcome

Upon successful completion of this home learning course, you will receive an Astronomy IGCSE (1AS0) qualification issued by Edexcel. This syllabus has been specifically chosen because it is best suited to distance learning.

How is this course assessed or examined?

You will be required to complete the two standard IGCSE Astronomy standard written exams:

  • Paper 1: 1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of IGCSE, 100 marks.
  • Paper 2: 1 hour 45 minutes, 50% of IGCSE, 100 marks.

We provide a guaranteed exam space in one of our exam centres around the country to take away the hassle of needing to find your own.

During your course, you’ll be required to complete various assignments. These do not contribute to your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to monitor your progress and will be used to produce predicted grades (CAGs) if needed.

You’ll also need to complete two observational tasks: one unaided and one with the aid of a telescope. You can use your own telescope if you wish; however, you’ll be given a login for the National Schools’ Observatory, so you can complete your observations via the website.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this level two Astronomy course, but you will need the ability to carry out observations of the night sky. You’ll also need to have a fairly good grasp of maths.

Past Papers

You can access past papers for this course. They are free to access and cover a range of exam boards.

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