Astronomy Studies: Graduate-Level

Want to go deeper into Astronomy studies? Consider the following options:


1.     Consider a 3-year online master’s degree program out of Australia, the only such program in the world. Alfredo Viegas (AAA Board Chairman), Matthias Schmitt (AAA instructor and U.S. night sky park ranger), and David Kiefer (Classes Committee Chairman) can attest to its comprehensiveness. For details write to [email protected]. 


2.     High level, non-degree classes are available online, such as the Great Courses series. These talks cover all fields of study, employing a dozen or more hour-long videos. They are excellent in astronomy, cosmology, physics, and astrophysics. All Great Courses are taught by leading experts. Often one yearly fee allows you to explore any-and-all fields they offer.


3.     Some major universities allow the public to sit-in on selected online undergraduate classes.


AAA member Ken Katta has been studying physics, astrophysics, and spectroscopy with the National Australian University, which is part of edX, a consortium of universities and programs worldwide. The range of studies available can be perused on its website. Ken will be teaching the AAA’s “Physics in Astronomy” class in April and May.


4.     YouTube is overwhelming with lectures, discussions, videos, and demonstrations about everything. For example, type in “astronomy”, “Big Bang”, “curved space”, “galaxies” – or any general theme or specific topic – and see what comes up. To the side is a list of lots yet more videos on the subject you searched. Most are short and free. They vary in quality from enthusiastic amateurs to leading experts, but all can prompt deeper questions and study. One downside: like eating potato chips or pretzels you can’t watch just one YouTube video.


5.     Some academics put down Wikipedia, as its articles are written mainly by engaged amateurs, may have errors, and are not professionally reviewed. However, there is no quicker way to acquaint yourself on the basics of some topic and get a lay of the land before going deeper. Some readings are basic and elementary, others detailed and technical. The website is very good at creating diagrams and charts that convey information succinctly. 


6.     The AAA offers introductory-level, short courses on astronomy and astrophotography. You can see coming and past classes at by clicking on the “Classes” button.


7.     Consider introductory and advanced textbooks, as well as trade and specialty books listed on Amazon, often with excerpts. Many come in different versions with widely different prices. Be sure to get the latest editions with copyrights or publication dates not older than 10 years. 


Three leading introductory college texts are Astronomy Today 9EAstronomy. A Beginners Guide to the Universe 8E, and Pathways to Astronomy 6E. The latter has 86 very short chapters focused on narrow, specific topics. Many others are available.


Note: This is not an advertisement. It’s offered as information for members who may desire and have time for graduate astronomy studies.