Exploring the Universe

The Ballarat Observatory offers a range of programs for schools students that deal with concepts in Astronomy. Our programs can be tailored to suit your learning outcomes.

In addition, our AstroTour school programs provide complete coverage of the current Victorian Science Curriculum – from primary school through to the Victorian Certificate of Education. To help you plan your AstroTour visit, the following table highlights topics that may be discussed and for which year levels they are suitable. Alternatively, we are always happy to customise an AstroTour to suit the topics your students are interested in exploring. Just let us know when you make your booking.

Click here to download an overview of our programs for school groups

Below is an overview of the areas covered.

Topic Areas Covered Year
5 & 6
7 & 8
9 & 10
The Earth & Moon The Earth as a PlanetThe Earth’s rotation and the cycle of night/day
The phases of the Moon
The orbit of the Earth and other planets around the Sun
Time periods: days, months, years
The cycle of the seasons
Yes Yes
The Solar System Overview of the Solar SystemThe eight planets + dwarf planets
Comparisons between rocky terrestrial giants
Planetary atmospheres
Craters and other surface features
Little things in the Solar System: comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects, Pluto
Recent exploration of Mars and the search for water based on Real Data
Yes Yes
Stars The Sun as a star
Nuclear fusion as the Sun’s power source
Atoms, elements and the periodic table
Life-cycle of the Sun and other stars
Star and planet formation
End-states of stars: red giant, planetary nebula, white dwarf, supernova
Pulsars: properties, locations, tests of gravitational theories
Stars in our Galaxy
Yes Yes  Yes
Galaxies The Milky Way galaxy
Galaxy types: spiral, elliptical and and irregular
Comparison of Milky Way with other galaxies
Formation of the Milky Way
Galaxy interactions and mergers
Galaxy groups & clusters
 Yes  Yes
The Universe Galaxy surveys
The large-scale structure of the Universe
The role of Dark Matter in the Universe
Computer modelling of the Universe
 Yes  Yes