Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTR) 205

Universe—The Ultimate Frontier (Revision 7)

ASTR 205

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with a video component

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Astronomy Studies home page

ASTR 205 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Télé-université du Québec equivalency: PHY 2001.

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ASTR 205 is a three-credit, introductory-level course designed to

  • describe the Universe as we now understand it.
  • explain how our current understanding came about.
  • show how the scientific method forms the basis for both the tools and the theories of astronomy.


Part 1: The Sky—This unit describes the cosmos and traces the history of our attempts to understand it, including the tools developed to help us do so.

Part 2: The Stars—This unit describes light and how it carries information to us. It discusses what we have learned about the structure of stars and how they form, age, and die.

Part 3: The Universe of Galaxies—This unit describes how stars group together into galaxies, how galaxies are themselves distributed, and how we think this entire cosmic structure began and may end.

Part 4: The Solar System—This unit describes the characteristics and origins of planets and other bodies in our solar system.


To receive credit for ASTR 205, you must achieve a course composite mark of at least a “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite mark is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Tutor-marked Exercise 1 Tutor-marked Exercise 2 Tutor-marked Exercise 3 Telephone Quizzes (4 x 5%) Final Exam Total
10% 10% 10% 10% 20% 40% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Seeds, Michael A. and Backman, Dana E. Horizons: Exploring the Universe, 13th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2014.

Telecourse Student Guide

Cusano, Denise, Levine, Joel M., and Sibbernsen, Kendra. Course Student Guide for Astronomy: Observations & Theories, 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2014.

Other materials

The course materials also include a spectrum viewer, and a planetarium program CD. Supplementary video lessons are available as streaming videos through the course website. Alternatively, the videos can be borrowed as DVDs from the Athabasca University Library.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ASTR 205 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “C-” (60 percent) on the examination.

Paper Exam (3 hours)

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, May 12, 2015.

View previous syllabus

Updated March 31 2016 by Student & Academic Services