This Open Universities Australia and Swinburne University unit offers a fascinating look into the History of Astronomy without the need for any prior knowledge of physics or astronomy. By studying this unit, you will learn about the leading theorists throughout history, including Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Descartes, and you will become familiar with their theoretical contributions to science.
The unit will take you through the social reasons for advancement of the science of astronomy, and will enable you to become aware of the development of astronomical techniques and concepts throughout history. You will consider these changes from a cross-cultural perspective as various segments of this unit will focus on Islamic, Chinese, Indian, Greek, and Roman astronomy.
You will also become familiar with the phases of progress within the field, including medieval astronomy, the Newtonian revolution, the discoveries surrounding the electromagnetic spectrum and major breakthroughs and theories of the 20th century.
To be eligible to enrol in this unit, applicants must be accepted into one of the following courses:
Graduate Certificate of Science(Astronomy)
Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy)
Master of Science (Astronomy)
Areas of study
In this astronomy unit, the topics you will study include:
Naked eye astronomy; archaeoastronomy; the influence of mythology
The development of astronomy in Mesopotamia and Egypt; constellations, the zodiac, eclipses, astrology, concepts of time
Natural philosophy and science in ancient Greece, Greek and Roman astronomy
Islamic astronomy; astronomy in Asia: Chinese and Indian astronomy
Medieval astronomy: the influence of Islamic science, pre-Copernicans, medieval astronomy, Copernican revolution: Brahe, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo
The Newtonian revolution: Descartes, Newtonian cosmology, Halley; Kant and galaxies, Herschel and Uranus, physics and astronomy after Newton
19th century: discovery of Neptune, large telescopes and observatories, nebulae to galaxies, spectroscopy and astrophysics, astrophotography and photometry
New wavelengths: the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared radiation, the dawn of radio astronomy
20th century: relativity, cosmology and the Big Bang; the shift from imaging to imagination; modern cosmology
Issues in history of astronomy: philosophy science and scientific method; women in astronomy; astronomical instrumentation and technological developments
This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:
Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), Swinburne University
Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy), Swinburne University
Master of Science (Astronomy), Swinburne University
Content may also be relevant to other courses, and could qualify you for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for a course offered by another institution.
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This unit will not only provide you with a foundation of knowledge in the History of Astronomy, it will also help to develop a range of skills which are transferable across industries. You will be required to design and write an essay on a topic within astronomy, and will therefore be expected to critique credible sources of information and academic articles on the subject. This will help to develop your communication skills as well as your critical thinking and analytical skills.
How else will I benefit from this unit?
Upon successful completion of this unit you will receive credit for competencies in History of Astronomy from Swinburne University.
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Gain industry-relevant skills and transferable knowledge.
Government financial support through FEE-HELP may be available.
Studying single units allows you the flexibility to work towards a qualification at your own pace.
Receive Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for this unit across a number of OUA's full degree programs.
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Want more information about the career benefits of this unit? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.
If you are an Australian citizen, you may be eligible to receive a government FEE-HELP loan, meaning you can defer payment of your fees.
Get more information
Want more information about financial and student support? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.
You may be eligible to receive FEE-HELP for this course!
This course can be paid for through the FEE-HELP government loan scheme. If you are an Australian citizen or hold a permanent humanitarian visa, this means you don’t need to pay upfront.
Instead, the Australian government will pay your course fees on your behalf. You’ll begin repaying your loan through the tax system once you start earning more than the minimum threshold of $54,869 (2016-17 income year).
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