Top Ten Free Online Courses in Astronomy With Certificates in 2022

So you want to become an Astronomer and you are not sure where to begin? This article explains what an Astronomer’s duties are, astronomers’ salary as well as offers the best free online courses in Astronomy with certificates.

Whether you are a beginner in the field or you already have prior knowledge of Astronomy, the courses listed in this article are designed to help you begin or stay on the right track. For the beginner courses, the courses begin from scratch up to the advanced levels.

That way, learners who have prior knowledge and are looking to gain more or advance some skills could skip the basic levels or even better, focus more on the advanced courses.

Also, you can take as many courses on Astronomy as you can and earn your shareable certificates upon completion.

Now, let’s get right into it!

Top Ten Free Online Courses in Astronomy With Certificates

What Do Astronomers Do?

The responsibilities of astronomers may differ depending on their areas of expertise, however, an astronomer’s duties may include:

  • Collecting and examining data from satellites and spacecraft
  • Exploring space with radio and optical telescopes
  • Designing new instruments and maintaining existing telescopes
  • Developing software to further interpret images as well as data collected by satellites.
  • Creating computer models to test theories about space activities
  • Making observations and developing theories
  • Assessing the outcomes of past observations in other to make new predictions
  • Analyzing data to assist in building a human understanding of the events in the universe.

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Top Free Online Courses in Astronomy with Certificates

We have carefully researched and selected these courses just for you. No matter what level you are at, there is a course designed for you on the list – from beginner, intermediate to advanced levels.

These courses are best designed to help you set into the Astronomy career as well as to gain more experience if you are already in the field. Each course is equipped with valuable lessons all at no cost.

Also, you can take over two or more courses if you want. So, why don’t you start right away!

1. Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space

This course is offered by the University of Arizona on Coursera. It aims at teaching every learner interested in learning about modern astronomy.

Whether you are a beginner and have no background in science or you are an advanced learner, this course begins from the introductory level up to the advanced level. Also, it will help you get up to date on the most recent astronomical discoveries.

It aims to achieve this by covering these topics:

  • Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space
  • Science and History
  • The Night Sky
  • The Tools of Astronomy
  • Matter and Radiation
  • The Solar System
  • Exoplanets
  • Star Birth and Death
  • Galaxies
  • Cosmology
  • Life in the Universe

Course provider: Coursera

Duration: Approximately 48 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

2. AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery

Offered by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera, this course explores the different aspects of Astronomical technology. It matches each piece of technology to a high science result and further explains how the technology works.

Also, it explains how technology allows humans to collect astronomical data and interpret the data to make scientific discoveries.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Science and technology
  • Telescopes and stars
  • Space and backhoes
  • Detectors and the first galaxies
  • Computers and killer rocks
  • Spectroscopy and dark energy

Course provider: Coursera

Duration: Approximately 6 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

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  1. Analyzing the Universe

Offered by Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, the course explores the mysteries of the cosmos which includes quasars and supernovae, black holes, and neutron stars.

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Also, it analyzes energy spectra as well as the time series data for the purpose of understanding how these amazing objects work. 

Furthermore, this course utilizes the DS9 tool to explore the incredible diversity of astronomical observations which have made x-ray astronomy one of the most active, enthusiastic, and fulfilling fields of scientific investigation in the last 50 years.

The course begins with an introduction to the nature of image formation and then moves on to explore how the imaging program, DS9 aids in understanding real satellite data.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Light and the nature of images and the introduction to DS9
  • Basic astronomical data and a DS9 Smorgasbord
  • Star evolution and white dwarfs
  • Orbits, gravity, and clocks in the sky
  • Supernovae, our cosmic recycling centers
  • To ends of the universe: Quasars, 2C273, and beyond.

Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 22 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes 

4. Data-Driven Astronomy

Offered by the University of Sydney, this course focuses on investigating the challenges of working with large datasets. It teaches how to implement algorithms that work as well as how to manage your data using databases.

Furthermore, this course teaches how to learn from your data using machine tools. It is a practical-focused course and all the activities will be carried out using the modern programming language commonly used in astronomy, Python 3.

To cover this, this course covers the following outlines;

Thinking about data

  • Principles of computational thinking
  • Discovering pulsars in radio images

Big data makes things slow

  • How to work out the time complexity of algorithms
  • Exploring the black holes at the centers of massive galaxies

Querying data using SQL

  • How to use databases to analyze your data
  • Investigating exoplanets in other solar systems

Managing your data

  • How to set up databases to manage your data
  • Exploring the lifecycle of stars in our Galaxy

Learning from data: regression

  • Using machine learning tools to investigate your data
  • Calculating the redshifts of distant galaxies

Learning from data: classification

  • Using machine learning tools to classify your data
  • Investigating different types of galaxies

Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 24 hours

Cost:  Free

Certificate: Yes

5. Confronting The Big Questions: Highlights of Modern Astronomy

This course is offered by the  University of Rochester, one of the top leading private universities in Rochester, New York city aimed at providing outstanding opportunities for students from all over the world. 

The course explores the introduction to modern astronomy’s most crucial questions. It is divided into four sections:

  • Planets
  • The universe
  • The life of stars; galaxies and their environments
  • And the history of the universe

To achieve this, this course answers the following questions;

  • Are we alone in the universe?
  • How do stars evolve and die?
  • What exists outside our galaxy?
  • What is the fate of the universe?

Course provider: Coursera

Duration: Approximately 11 hours

Cost:  Free

Certificate: Free

6. The Science of the Solar System

Offered by Caltech, a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution for students to gain new knowledge, lead innovation, seek answers to complex questions and transform their future. 

The course focuses on teaching the science of the recent exploration of the solar system.  It utilizes principles from chemistry, physics, biology, and geology to understand Mars.

Also, to comprehend the outer solar system and search for habitability in our neighborhood and even beyond.

This course is best designed for advanced learners or learners who already have prior knowledge of maths and physics. 

To achieve this, the course covers the following topics:

  • Water on mars
  • The insides of giant planets
  • Big questions from small bodies
  • Life in the solar system
  • Life in the solar system and beyond
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Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 30 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

7. Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth, and Life

Offered by the University of Copenhagen, the oldest university in Denmark, and is aimed at providing education to students at the highest academic level. 

This course explores the origin of all things ranging from the Big Bang to the origin of the Solar System as well as the earth. 

The course covers the following topics:

  •  Origins of the elements, the solar system, and the planets
  • The early earth and origin of life
  • Origin of the microbial world/The Cambrian Explosion and exceptional preservation.
  • The transition from Microbial to Microbial Life: Snowball Earth and the Ediacara Biota / Eukaryotic Evolution and the Phylogeny of All Life
  • Origin of the marine Cambrian and Palaeozoic Evolutionary Faunas / Diversity in deep time / Origin of predation and the Mesozoic Arms race
  • Oxygenation and animals
  • Origins and Early Development of Plants / The Origin and Diversification of Flowering Plants
  • The Evolution of Insects and their Role in Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Colonization of the continents and the Origin of the Dinosaurs and Birds/Mass Extinction Events and Their Causes
  • Origin of Recent Climate Change / The Molecular Clock
  • Primate Origins and Evolution / Human Origins and Evolution
  • Modern diversity

Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 24 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

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8. Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

Offered by the Leland Stanford Junior University, also known as Stanford University, is a private university in Stanford, California, United States. 

This course focuses on understanding Einstein while focusing on the theory of relativity that Albeit Einstein introduced in his “miracle year” of 1905 as a twenty-six-year-old patent clerk.

It aims at gaining an in-depth understanding of both Einstein as a person as well as a concept, his predictions, and the strange paradoxes of his theory. 

Furthermore, the course answers the following questions:

  • How did Einstein come up with his ideas?
  • What was the nature of his genius?
  • What is the meaning of relativity?
  • What’s “special” about the special theory of relativity?
  • Why did the theory initially seem to be dead on arrival?
  • What does it mean to say that time is the “fourth dimension”?
  • Can time actually run more slowly for one person than another, and the size of things change depending on their velocity?
  • Is time travel possible, and if so, how?
  • Why can’t things travel faster than the speed of light?
  • Is it possible to travel to the center of the galaxy and return in one lifetime?
  • Is there any evidence that definitively confirms the theory, or is it mainly speculation?
  • Why didn’t Einstein win the Nobel Prize for the theory of relativity?

Also, the course covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to the course and Einstein in context
  • Events, clocks, and reference frames
  • Ethereal problems and solutions
  • The weirdness begins
  • Spacetime switches
  • Breaking the spacetime speed limit
  • Paradoxes to ponder
  • To the center of the galaxy and back.

Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 81 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

9. Imagining Other Earths

This course is offered by Princeton University, a private research university established in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. 

It explores the concepts in astronomy, planetary science, and biology which allow students to scientifically speculate about the question of “Are we alone?” and invent their own solar system.

This course aims to achieve this using this syllabus:

  • Introduction
  • The universe is big
  • What is life?
  • Why is mercury so hot?
  • Snowball earth
  • Planetary atmospheres
  • Mercury and venus
  • Mars 
  • The moon
  • Small bodies of the solar system
  • Kepler’s law and search for extrasolar planet
  • Kepler and transits
  • Einstein and the search for planets
  • Properties of stars
  • Stellar evolution
  • Quantum mechanics and fingerprinting planets
  • Optics and imaging planets
  • Biochemistry of life 
  • Is earth special? Origin of life
  • Evolution o life
  • Extremophiles
  • Extinctions
  • What makes a habitable planet
  • Habitable zone, Fermi paradox and SETI
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Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 26 hours

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

10. From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

This course is offered by the University of Tokyo, the first national university in Japan wh8ch doubles as one of the top research universities in Tokyo that offers courses in virtually all academic disciplines at all academic levels.

This course explores Dark Energy, a mysterious energy multiplying in a vacuum as well as the evidence behind the strange discoveries behind it. 

The course will cover the following topics:

  • From daily life to the big bang
  • Birth of elements and Higgs boson
  • Dark matter and anti-matter
  • Inflation and dark energy

Course provider:  Coursera

Duration: Approximately 31 hours

Cost:  Free

Certificate: Yes

FAQs Free Online Courses in Astronomy with Certificates in 2022

How can I learn astronomy online for free?

There are so many resources online to learn astronomy for free. EDX and Coursera offer free online courses in astronomy with certificates.

Is astronomy a hard class?

Basically, astronomy can be said to be as difficult as a high school physics class.

Is astronomy a good career?

Astronomy is a great career, however, only astronomers with a strong education, the ability, and passion for the field are offered permanent positions.

What qualifications do you need to study astronomy?

To study astronomy at a university or more professional level, the following qualifications are required:

Basic maths knowledge
Basic physics knowledge
analytical thinking skills
science skills
excellent verbal communication skills
the ability to use your initiative
the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
concentration skills
to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

Where do astronomers work?

Astronomers could work in:

1. An observatory
2. A laboratory
3. A university
4. Visiting sites

How much do astronomers make?

What is an astronomer’s salary? An average astronomer earns between £15,609 for starters and £60,000 for experienced astronomers.

What are the best courses in Astronomy with certificates?

Free online courses with certificates:

Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space
AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery
Analyzing the Universe
Data-Driven Astronomy
Confronting The Big Questions: Highlights of Modern Astronomy
The Science of the Solar System
Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth, and Life
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity
Imagining Other Earths
From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

Which course is best for astronomy?

Where can I learn astronomy online?

Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space
AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery
Analyzing the Universe
Data-Driven Astronomy
Confronting The Big Questions: Highlights of Modern Astronomy
The Science of the Solar System
Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth, and Life
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity
Imagining Other Earths
From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

Where can I learn astrophysics for free?

Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space
AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery
Analyzing the Universe
Data-Driven Astronomy
Confronting The Big Questions: Highlights of Modern Astronomy
The Science of the Solar System
Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity
Imagining Other Earths
From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

References

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