How to learn astrophysics for beginners

Astronomy: The Best Online Courses for Beginners and Experts

Anyone who wants to learn about astronomy online will find many high quality offers from universities around the world.

Especially Beginnerscan acquire all the basics about the solar system and its planets, stars, galaxies and black holes at their own pace with video courses.

But also advanced astronomers find various valuable online courses (especially from international universities).

The courses are usually either completely free - or you can study for free and only pay if you want to receive a certificate later.

Online lectures in German

The lecture recordings are in the respective live lecturecreated and are therefore quite different in terms of picture / sound quality. The content is often top notch.

  • For example, the University of Tübingen has a series of lectures specifically for a interested audience without prior knowledge was created. It contains all the basics from the development of the universe to the formation of stars and planets to exoplanets, black holes and gravitational waves.
  • The introductory lecture over 2 semesters also comes from the same university. This is for bachelor students (physics) thought and structured a bit more academic. A helpful detailed topic outline is available for each lesson.
  • The lecture series at ETH Zurich is roughly comparable to this. Here, too, are all of the astronomy basics at a simple academic level contain.
  • The basic course in astronomy at the University of Frankfurt is already scientific somewhat more demanding (mathematical) designed; Certain previous knowledge of physics is helpful.

Introductory online courses from international universities

Online video courses (MOOCs, massive open online courses). These are from universities specially created for online learning (in English). Test questions, discussion forums and course certificates are also available here.

Intro video of the University of Rochester's Highlights of Modern Astronomy

Other interesting online courses on astronomical topics


  • Lecture on galaxies and cosmology at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in English (more)
  • Introductory Cosmology course at the Australian National University (more)
  • MIT Lecture Series (more)
  • Introductory lecture of the University of Bremen in English (more)
  • Demanding cosmology lecture at the University of Frankfurt (more)
  • Dark energy and other advanced topics (next)


  • Introductory course in astrophysics at EPFL Lausanne (more) (interview with the lecturer)
  • Comprehensive series of 4 online courses from the Australian National University (more)
  • Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity from Stanford University (more)
  • Course at a Russian university on general relativity (more)
  • Video lecture on gravitational waves at the University of Bremen in English (more)
  • Demanding lecture on theoretical astrophysics (Frankfurt) (more)
  • Basic course on exoplanets from Boston University (more)


  • University of Edinburgh Introductory Course for Beginners (next)
  • Extensive video course series from Princeton University (more)
  • Lecture at the academic level of the University of Frankfurt (more)

Space technology:

  • Introductory course in space technology and history of space travel from the University of Madrid (more)
  • MIT course on aerospace engineering (more)
  • Video course by an ESA astronaut at EPFL Lausanne (more)
  • University of Colorado Spaceship Kinematics course (next)


  • Practical stargazing with binoculars or telescope (more)
  • 6 short lessons on telescope basics (next)
  • 217 TV episodes of simple astrophysics: "Alpha Centauri" with Harald Lesch (more)
  • Yale University interdisciplinary video course series on the history of the universe and the earth (more)
  • Further teaching material is also available from the European space agency ESA and from the American NASA.