2023-2024 / SPAT0018-1

Ideas evolution in astronomy


14h Th, 6h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in space sciences (120 ECTS)2 crédits 


Yaël Nazé

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Today's astronomy is not any more that of our ancestors. However, our current knowledge was not built in one day: the evolution of the astronomical theories was often slow and vigourously debated. The course is articulated mainly around the development of some basic concepts, like the light and the distance. It does not elude the ideas still discussed nowadays, like the extraterrestrial life or the shape of our Universe. One will also consider, in addition to our greco-Roman heritage, the astronomical developments having taken place in other parts of the world.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The objective of this course is to present the evolution of the ideas in astronomy. It makes it possible to acquire the bases of the scientific culture, and especially to better understand the current science. This course also try to develop the critical mind of the students.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Elementary notions in math and physics.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

7 lessons of about 2h and practical exercises linked to the personal work to be done.

Recommended or required readings

A copy of the slide show or dedicated notes will be given to students (ecampus). All these documents are made available exclusively for a strictly personal and private use, and shall not be shared with a third party. If a student wants to record a lesson, he/she must ask the teacher's authorization and sign the adequate copyright form (which also requires non-sharing).

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

The grade of the course is attributed in two steps. The first one is linked to a personal written contribution on one topic in history of astronomy, chosen by the student in agreement with the professor ; it is based on a refereed article (to be chosen in a list) and uses analysis guidelines provided to the students. The second part is an oral exam, to be passed at a date which suits both the students and the professor (at least 10 days after that the written work was given to the prof.). It will consist of (1) the presentation of the personal work (15min maximum, without notes) and (2) a series of questions on the work but also on course, mostly linked to the subject of the personal work.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The personal work, in printed version (or manuscript) as well as in electronic form, should be given at a date chosen by the students and the professor. It should follow the provided outline.


Yaël Nazé, 04 366 97 20, office #2/12 of Bat B5C (Astrophysics & Geophysics), ynaze@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs