What you will study:

Course Name: Astronomy

Award: GCSE

Exam Board: Edexcel

Electronics Teacher: Mrs V Gowan


Note: This subject is taught after school.


The Astronomy course

  • Has been developed to build on our natural fascination with the night sky and our continued explorations. Astronomy is constantly in the media which makes this course engaging and relevant.
  • Complements the GCSE Science specifications, particularly combined science which does not feature any astronomy content. As a visually more accessible subject, it promotes science to a wider base.
  • Has been designed to be straightforward and to suit a wide range of abilities, providing stretch for gifted students while engaging lower-ability students in more relevant content.


Paper 1: Naked-eye Astronomy Paper 2: Telescopic Astronomy

·  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



·  Topic  9 – Exploring the Moon

·  Topic 10 – Solar astronomy

·  Topic 11 – Exploring the Solar System

·  Topic 12 – Formation of planetary systems

·  Topic 13 – Exploring starlight

·  Topic 14 – Stellar evolution

·  Topic 15 – Our place in the Galaxy

·  Topic 16 – Cosmology


Assessment overview 

The course is assessed by two written examinations of 1 hour and 45 minutes

There are a mixture of different question styles, includes multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations, graphical and extended-open-response questions.


The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to:  

  • understand the structures, cycles and interactions of the Earth, Moon and Sun
  • understand the Earth’s place and the forces, which have shaped planetary systems
  • understand the forces governing the life cycles of stars and how stars appear in the night sky
  • understand how astronomers discovered the Earth’s position within our galaxy and the Universe and understand current theories for the evolution of the Universe
  • understand the challenges in observing and how technology has aimed to overcome them
  • apply observational, enquiry and problem-solving skills, through the use of information from aided and unaided astronomical observations; using these skills to evaluate observations and methods
  • develop an informed interest in current astronomical investigations, discoveries and exploration
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of astronomy theory and practice, and the skills needed to investigate a wide range of astronomical contexts
  • understand that the study and practice of astronomy are interdependent and iterative activities, and appreciate the links between astronomy and other branches of science
  • develop an awareness of limitations by e.g. economic, technical, ethical and cultural influences
  • progress to further and higher education courses in the fields of Astronomy or Physics.


The work completed by the students will be assessed in a number of ways; teacher, self and peer assessed. The work given is also linked to a set of transferable skills that the students can apply to other subject areas and aspects of life.