Paul Sutton


In the night sky : Orion Completed

I have finally, after months of going back and forth to this, partly due to other study and things to do. Completed the 24 hour OU / OpenLearn Course. I was just doing this casually anyway.

Note: This is a Level 1 Open University course.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

* Understand facts, concepts, principles, theories, classifications and language used in astronomy * Understand the range of sizes, distances and motions of objects in the night sky * Understand the structure, evolution and the main processes operating in stars * Understand the properties of planets in our Solar System and exoplanetary systems * Understand the history of the universe.

Really interesting course, lots to think about and learn just from doing some of the research for the questions posed during the course.

Astronomy uses the greek alphabet for star names for example so this post may help.

#course #openlearn #openuniversity #science #space #astronomy #cosmology #physics #astrophysics #chemistry #biology #OU #greek

I am currently working through another short OpenLearn course. This time I am exploring the constellation of Orion.

Having previously studied other Space science courses, some of the concepts are easier to understand, such as the lifecycle of stars.

Despite understanding the maths behind huge numbers. Distances such as 1 light year are massive : (ly) $$9.5 \times 10^{12} km. $$

The subsequent distance to the Orion Nebula which is 1600 light years. Therefore $$1600 \times 9.5 \times 10^{12} km $$.

I think, that this should be expressed as $$1.6 \times 9.5 \times 10^{15} km $$

Understandably it is difficult to imagine the sort of distances involved.

If you intend to study this course. I would recommend other courses first. Courses such as 'The Sun' may be a good starting point.

I am about ½ way through the second week of the course. Currently looking at the life cycle of a star beyond the main sequence phase, so this includes Red Giants, Brown / White dwarf, Supernova and black holes, or at least how and under what conditions these are formed.

You do need an astronomy package, to help with the course. This comes in more useful, if you don't have clear skies to observe Orion. I have discussed how to use the kstars package to find Orion in post yesterday (30/12/2019).

What I can take from this course, is some inspiration to write some posts about other constellations of the night sky.

References :

It may be beneficial to have a look at these courses before embarking on this longer course:

The Galaxies stars and planets course has a section on the scale of the universe, which is helpful to help you understand very large numbers.

#astronony, #study, #openuniversity, #openlearn, #free, #shortcourse, #orion

You can find me on Friendica at

cc-by logo

Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

I have just completed another OU / OpenLearn course, this time on The Evolving Universe. Despite its rather complex subject matter it was very interesting and expanded a little further on the 'How the universe works' course I undertook a few years ago.

The course looked at the early universe, the big bang, how particles, energy, time and temperature all changed over time and how all these are inter-related. How the matter we know today formed and why the universe is mostly matter and not antimatter. The fact there was more matter and what would have happened if the amount of antimatter and matter had been equal. Plus other interesting topics.

How sub-atomic particles such as Bosons, Leptons, Quarks etc interact. How research finds new particles and the huge energy levels required for this to take place.

This is a level 1 introductory course, and like the more formal course mentioned. The course also asks other questions which gets the reader thinking about different scenarios that could have occurred.


#OpenUniversity, #OU, #OpenLearn, #science, #EvolvingUniverse, #Space, #astronomy, #astrophysics,

You can find me on Friendica at

cc-by logo

Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)