Are you fascinated by the night sky? Do you ever wonder about the movements of stars? Would you like to explore the mysteries of the big bang? Then our GCSE Astronomy course is perfect for you.
With the unlimited support of a personal tutor, this course will have you exploring every known corner of the universe! You’ll get to study the major components of our galaxy, from the Earth, moon, and sun, to the surrounding planets, comets and stars. You’ll learn about the forces which have shaped our planetary systems, causing day, night, and seasonal cycles. And you’ll travel in time to understand how stargazers through the centuries have used astrological observations to make sense of our place in the world. Finally, you’ll get to uncover how current theories for the evolution of our universe may shape humanity’s fate.
This course will help you to develop skills that are highly valued by universities and employers, such as scientific thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to evaluate observations and methodologies. A qualification in astronomy will open the doors for a career in other branches of science, such as meteorology, or a profession in planetariums, museums, and even engineering! It’s the first step into astronomy, but a giant leap for your future.
The perfect introduction to astronomy for stargazers and those fascinated with the beauty of space
Get as much help and support as you want from your personal course tutor via email and phone.
Access to our Country-wide network of exam centres (guaranteed exam venue)
If you don’t pass the first time, we’ll support you to the next exam for free
Edexcel is the UK’s largest awarding organisation offering academic and vocational qualifications in schools, colleges and work places in the UK and abroad. They have been helping people succeed in life through learning for nearly 2 decades. Edexcel is a multinational education and examination body.
You should allow for between 120 and 150 hours’ study time, plus additional time for completing assignments, exams and practical assessments.
Our course is delivered via our online learning platform as this provides learners with a dynamic and engaging experience. Don’t worry, if you prefer, you can print the learning materials yourself. The learning resources are in a range of different media including videos and interactive content.
Once you enrol, you’ll have up to two years to study and take your exams, and your unlimited tutor support will continue throughout this time.
You can enrol now for examinations from Summer 2022.
You will be required to complete the two standard GCSE standard written exams.
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. Check where your closest exam centre is.
During your course, you’ll be required to complete various assignments. These do not contribute towards 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 your own telescope if you wish, however, you’ll be given a login for the National Schools’ Observatory, and can complete your observations via the website.
Upon successful completion of this home learning course, you will receive a GCSE in Astronomy, issued by Edexcel. This syllabus has been chosen specifically because it is the best suited to distance learning.
Official Qualification Title - Astronomy GCSE
Difficulty - Level 2
Entry requirements - There are no formal entry requirements for this 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.
Before you get stuck into the rest of the course, this section will help you refresh and practise your maths skills! Maths is a fundamental part of astronomy, and you’ll need to be confident with numbers in order to do well in your exams.
To understand planets, you need to start with Earth! In this module, you’ll become an expert in Earth’s internal structures: the crust, mantle, outer and inner core. You’ll then learn about the major features of Earth’s surface and its reference points, such as the equator and the prime meridian. Finally, you’ll learn about the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on astronomical observations, including sky colour and skyglow.
Now it’s time to look closer at the moon and its structures, so you can identify some of the main features on its surface, such as craters and terrae. In this module, you’ll also study the rotation and revolution of the moon and the effect of libration.
There is an integral relationship between the Earth, moon, and sun and in this module, you’ll understand exactly what connects them, looking at how they affect each other with tides, precession and eclipses. You’ll also develop a range of mathematical skills, including the use of angular measures in degrees, and solving algebraic equations.
Here’s where you get to study the astronomical definitions and measurements of time, looking at the annual variation in the times of sunrise and sunset. You’ll be able to use data related to different time zones and understand the difference between synodic and sidereal time. Finally, you’ll study what causes solstices and equinoxes.
There’s a certain way to observe planets, understanding the locations of planets in relation to the Earth, and a certain way to observe the sun safely, too. In this module, you’ll discover the different methods used to make solar system observations, noticing the motion of the sun as it follows an annual path called the ecliptic, amongst other solar occurrences. You’ll also be able to detect meteors and understand the cause of meteor showers.
After studying this module, you’ll be able to observe astronomical phenomena (such as star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, planets and comets) with the naked eye. How? You’ll learn how to plan your observations to be at the best time and location, taking into account things like weather and light pollution. This module with then teach you how to use information from star charts, planispheres, and different apps to identify objects in the night sky.
As if going back in time, this module will teach you how early astronomers modelled the solar system. You’ll discover how ancient civilisations all around the world used solar and lunar observations for their agricultural, religious, time, and calendar systems, understanding how crucial astronomy was (and still is) to many aspects of life.
Now, you’ll dive into the gravitational pull of the sun, learning about the motions that planets follow around the sun and how gravity plays a role in this. This will teach you about Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, alongside Newton’s law of universal gravitation.
Understanding the major differences between the appearance of the moon’s near and far side, you’ll learn about its internal structure and different features. This will lead you to discover why there’s a constant drive to improve the accuracy, detail, and range of observations made about the moon.
In this module, you’ll study the structure of the sun, learning about its energy production process and solar wind. Learning how to use sunspot data, you’ll be able to determine information about the sun’s rotation period and solar cycle. Then, we’ll teach you about the location and relative temperatures of the sun’s internal divisions, including its core and radiative zone.
Here, you’ll discover the observations that provided a context for the invention of the telescope, the development of the space telescope, and probes to the outer reaches of our solar system. From here, we’ll teach you how to investigate the main bodies that make up the solar system, learning about their characteristics. This will provide a context for the manned exploration of the moon.
It was the interaction of gravitational and tidal forces that led to the formation of our solar system. Understanding how this might have occurred, you will use this information to study exoplanets and consider the possibility of life existing elsewhere in the universe.
There is a certain way to observe stars, which you will become an expert at in this module, learning how to obtain information about them just from observing the light they emit. We’ll teach you why we observe stars in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and where telescopes are located to enable better observations to be made.
Learning about the different types of stars, you’ll also discover how and why stars evolve, looking at their formation and how they end their life, depending on their size. You’ll develop a solid understanding of the principal stages and timescales of stellar evolution for different stars, including red giant stars, white dwarf stars, and supernovas.
In this module you’ll get to study everything to do with the Milky Way and be able to recognise its appearance as seen from Earth. This is where you get to explore our place in the universe, looking at different types of galaxies beyond our own. Then, you’ll get to grapple with the main theories for the evolution of galaxies.
Finally, you’ll end this course by closely studying the evidence and explanations for the expanding of the universe, which supports both the big bang theory and the steady state theory. You’ll also gain an understanding of redshift and Hubble’s law for distant galaxies, exploring dark matter and dark energy. Delving into the possible fate of the universe, you’ll understand that current models predict different evolutionary paths for the future.
We have some answers to common student questions, but if you can't find the answer you're looking for then please contact us and we will do everything we can to answer your questions.
Yes. there will be additional fees for your exams that are payable to the centre upon booking Your personal tutor can provide more details.
We are able to offer places at partnership exam centres across the UK for our students, therefore, guaranteeing an exam venue. If you choose to find your own exam centre, you can, you will need to register with them as an external or private candidate. Fees vary across the country so we recommend enquiring prior to enrolment.
This course is self-contained so no additional textbooks are required. Where there are required additional text books, we include this as free eBooks.
Yes! You study the same curriculum, take the same examinations and get the same qualification. The only difference is that the course is specially designed to be studied from home in your own time.
You will have access to your personal tutor, via email, who will mark your assignments and guide you through the course to help you get ready for your examinations. In addition, you will be supplied with a comprehensive Study Guide that will help you through the study and assessment process. Your personal tutor will be highly experienced in their subject area and qualified to teach.
You can study this course from anywhere in the world, but the exams must be taken within the UK.