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Modern Astronomical Research


Admission requirements



What is the size and structure of the Universe? How do stars and planets form and evolve? Could there be life elsewhere in the Universe? These are some of the most fascinating open questions of Humanity.

In this introductory course on modern astronomical research, you learn what modern astronomy is and what it means to be a successful researcher in astronomy. You will learn how to tackle challenging research questions and where to start searching for an answer. You will also learn how to communicate these answers to colleagues through different approaches, from research publications to scientific posters. In addition, you will understand the different career paths of astronomers.

During the course, you will explore research repositories, write a commentary essay based on a research presentation and deliver a poster to fellow colleagues.

The course address the following topics:

  • Current field of modern astronomy

  • Knowledge-bases: Astronomy databases and research articles repositories (e.g.: ADS and astro-ph)

  • Research Communication with peers: Publications and Poster Presentations

  • Astronomy Careers

Course objectives

After this course, you are able to summarize the current astronomy research landscape.

More specifically, after this course you can:

  • Describe the main research questions in current Astronomy and list different techniques that astronomers tackle this questions

  • Identify the main knowledge databases used in astronomy for astronomical data and research publications

  • Define a research publication workflow and peer-review processes

  • List the main sections of a research publication and compare it with the main open research questions

  • Summarize and judge the results of a research publication

  • List the main components of a successful poster

  • Develop and deliver a poster based on research questions

  • Recognize the different careers steps of a professional astronomer and possible alternative career paths

In this course, you will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Deliver a well designed and developed poster

  • Write a structured essay on judging a poster

  • Present research to fellow colleagues in a convincing and inspiring way


See Schedules bachelor Astronomy

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (including several invited lecturers)

  • Workshops

Assessment method

  • Three assignments: 45% of the final grade

  • A video presentation of a scientific paper: 55% of the final grade

The retake exam consists of an additional homework assignment. Each additional assignment can count for 1/3 of the score.

Reading list



From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer: Dr. P.M. (Pedro) Russo