Welcome to the ASTRONOMY Department

To take Astronomy as an option, we strongly recommend that students will need to be on or above target to achieve at least a Grade 6 in both their Maths and Science.



Most people are fascinated by the night sky and are interested in stories about our continuing exploration of our Solar System and Universe. This course has been developed to build on that interest and to introduce to the subject of astronomy. There is no astronomy in the Combined Science GCSE which students often find disappointing. This is an opportunity for students to study an area in Science that they show a particular interest in. 


The course will enable students to understand our position in the Universe, the movements of planets and stars, the cycles in the night and daytime sky, and the way in which we use technology to observe and interact with space. Students will follow an incredible story of how scientists, from ancient civilisations to the modern day, have used their imagination and carefully recorded visual measurement to explore the Universe in which we live.

There are two exams at the end of the course
Paper 1 Paper 2
• Naked-eye Astronomy
• 50% of the qualification
• 1 hour and 45 minutes
• Telesopic Astronomy
• 50% of the qualification
• 1 hour and 45 minutes
On the following topics:

Topic 1 – Planet Earth
Topic 2 – The lunar disc
Topic 3 – The Earth-Moon-Sun system
Topic 4 – Time and the Earth-Moon-Sun cycles
Topic 5 – Solar System observation
Topic 6 – Celestial observation
Topic 7 – Early models of the Solar System
Topic 8 – Planetary motion and gravity
On the following topics:

Topic 9 – Exploring the Moon
Topic 10 – Solar astronomy
Topic 11 – Exploring the Solar System
Topic 12 – Formation of the planetary systems
Topic 13 – Exploring starlight
Topic 14 – Stellar evolution
Topic 15 – Our place in the Galaxy
Topic 16 – Cosmology

Students must also undertake two astronomical observation tasks within lessons. They are given a problem which can be solved with a series of observations. Students must complete one aided observation task (with teacher support) and one unaided observation task. These tasks are not graded and do not contribute to the student’s overall grade, but students must complete
them to pass the course.