St Catherine's Catholic School


Head of Department (HOD): Mr A Taylor

Studying Astronomy is for you if you are interested in the night sky and the stories of our continuing exploration of our Solar System and the Universe. Learning about Astronomy will develop your understanding of our position in the Universe, the movement of the planets and stars, the cycles in the night and daytime sky, and the ways in which we can use technology to observe and interact with space.


The GCSE course follows the incredible story of how scientists from ancient civilisations to the modern day have used their imagination and creativity, whilst carefully recording visual measurements to explore the Universe in which we live.

The course is clearly divided into two sections, firstly focusing on those observations you can make with your own eyes and then secondly into those you can make with a telescope. You will learn about the Earth’s place in the Solar System and the Universe and the forces which have shaped both our own and other planetary systems. Learning about the life cycles of stars you will go onto develop and acquire the knowledge and understanding of astronomy theory and practice, and the skills needed to investigate a wide range of astronomical contexts.

This course is suitable for anyone who wants to develop their scientific knowledge and pursue a career in STEM related subjects. The course is great for those with excellent mathematical abilities having a strong link with Mathematics, as well as Science, and you will develop your astronomy-specific mathematical skills as you progress through the course. During the course you will develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of working scientifically by developing you scientific thinking, increasing your observational skills and strategies, and increasing your ability to analyse and evaluate novel situations.

The course consists of two externally examined assessments which contain a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations, graphical and extended-open-response questions

The first paper is based around astronomy you can observe with your own eyes, including topics such as the Earth our Solar System and the movement of Planets

The second paper is based on the deeper Universe and things we can observe through telescopes. This will include the features of the Moon, what starlight tells us about distant stars and our place in the Galaxy.

Paper 1: Naked Eye Astronomy Paper 2: Telescopic Astronomy

1 hour and 45 minutes

50% of the qualification

100 marks

Topics include: Planet Earth, Solar System Observation, Planetary motion

1 hour and 45 minutes

50% of the qualification

100 marks

Topics include: Exploring the Moon, Exploring starlight, Our place in the Galaxy

Exam Board: Edexcel Pearson

Course Code: 1AS0

Further Reading & Careers

As well as the obvious career opportunities from this course linked to astronomy and physics this course will provide you with valuable skills that are transferrable to other subject areas and career paths.

GCSE Astronomy bridges the gap between Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering and Maths and is a great course to support your development in pursuing a future in any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based career.