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Introduction to Astronomy

Through this course you will study physical processes in the universe. You will get an overview of modern astronomy, and lay the foundation for more specialized studies in astrophysics.

Carina nebula
Carina nebula. Image credit: ESO/T. Preibisch

In this course you will encounter the fundamental processes in the universe from a broad perspective. You will study the physical laws which govern many observed phenomena, such as gas dynamics, radiation, atomic physics and nuclear physics. This knowledge will be applied to investigate stellar formation and evolution, planetary systems and galaxies. As our knowledge of the universe largely builds on observations, you will explore how these can provide insight into the underlying physical processes, and even be used to study the evolution of the universe. This will lead you into the foundations of modern cosmology. Completing this course gives you a good base for more specialized studies in astronomy.


  • Course structure

    The course is given during day time, and is part of the Bachelor’s programme in Astronomy. It can also be taken as a free-standing course. The course is normally given in English.


    Teaching format

    Instruction is given in the form of lectures and seminars. Participation in both lectures and seminars is mandatory.

    The course comprises 15 seminars, with a home reading assignment before each seminar. During the seminar you will answer multiple-choice questions, follow a lecture given by the teacher, and practise with exercises.



    Assessment will be carried during the course through exercises and oral presentations in seminars. There will be a written exam at the end of the course. All exams are normally given in English.



    Markus Janson


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Maoz, D., Astrophysics in a Nutshell (second edition), 2016, ISBN-13: 978-0-691-16479-3

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via