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University Degree: Astronomy

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  1. Black Holes - Do they exist and if so what effect could they have on us?

    The first ideas were put forward in 1783 by Reverend John Michell where he talked of how "light could not escape from a star of the same mean density as the Sun but 500 times bigger". These first ideas on Black Holes were based around speculations about Black Holes hinged on ideas about the nature of light. By the end of the 17th century it was known that light travelled through space at a great speed. Then in 1965 Ole Romer made one of the first estimates at the speed of light after studying the path of one of Jupiter's moons.

    • Word count: 2668
  2. What is a Black Hole?

    Astronomers also suspect that other galaxies may harbour extremely massive black holes at their centres. These are thought to weigh about a million times as much as the Sun, or 1x1036 kilograms. The more massive a black hole is the more space it takes up. In fact, the if one black hole weighs ten times as much as another, its radius is ten times as large. A black hole with a mass equal to that of the Sun would have a radius of 3 kilometres.

    • Word count: 2048

"To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit."

- Stephen Hawking

If you are fascinated by the universe that engulfs our blue-green spheroid, and you sometimes find yourself daydreaming about the Oort Cloud, then a university degree in astronomy could be a perfect fit for you. You can study astronomy on its own, in combination with another subject like physics, or as part of an astrophysics course.

In astronomy as with all of the physical sciences, good written communication skills will enhance your marks. If you need a bit of help, consult Marked by Teachers collection of student-submitted astronomy and physics essays. Studying from real marked examples will give you all the tools you need to criticise and edit your own work: before long, your writing will be almost as brilliant as an ancient quasar.

Students of astronomy can expect to stay in the field by means of teaching and research, or to pursue careers in other areas, including finance, computing and marketing.


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