Space Science for Teachers

University of Virginia

Department of Astronomy and
The Curry School of Education

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Resources for Teachers

Solar System Images

The NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Planetary Photojournal has just about every image taken by NASA spacecraft of planets in our solar system. Most images come in both low and high resolution. The sheer number of images can be daunting. The page Welcome to the Planets narrows down this awesome collection to a few dozen of the best images.

The Nine Planets contains a wealth of resources and links for each planet in the solar system.

Other Images (some also include solar system objects)

The Space Telescope Science Institute has a gallery of images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day site has a new astronomy related picture with a detailed explanation and links every day. You should get in the habit of looking at this page each and every day! Also check out the Earth Science Picture of the Day and the NASA Earth Observatory.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory image gallery contains a wide variety of images of solar system objects, stars, nebulae, and galaxies.

The European Southern Observatory image gallery contains a nice selection of images of distant nebulae and galaxies. Be sure to check out the spectacular images from the Very Large Telescope.

The Anglo-Australian Observatory image gallery has a number of classic images by David Malin.

Other On-line Resources

Heavens-Above.com lists visible passes of the International Space Station, other satellites, and flares from Iridium satellites. You can also use it to generate star maps.

If you are looking for an excellent, and humorous, resource to debunk pseduoscientific claims, misconceptions, or to discuss how the media gets astronomy all wrong, check out Bad Astronomy. Phil is a good friend of mine and a fellow UVa grad.

You can get a nice star map at SkyMaps.com. However, get permission before making copies for your whole class!

To stay up-to-date on the latest events in space exploration (both robotic and manned exploration), check SpaceflightNow and Space.Com on a regular basis.

The Exploratorium has an online calculator that you can use to compute a scale model of the solar system. You can decorate your scale model planets with maps of the planets from the USGS Astrogeology Branch Maps and Globes page or Mitchell Charity's page on Making Globes of the Planets.

For a page with additional links to astronomy resources, see Lowell Bradford's page (suggested by Rebecca from Amorita Charter School, Oklahoma).

For a page with information on light pollution, see All About Light Pollution (suggested by Chris Johnson).

Books

The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars, by Julius D. W. Staal, The McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg Virginia. ISBN 0-939923-04-1

DVD Course

My DVD Course, Our Night Sky is available from the Teaching Company. In 12 lectures, I cover everything you need to know about what is visible in the sky, when you can see it, and what equipment, if any, you need to see it.

Teaching Materials

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has an extensive on-line store that carries publications and materials for teaching astronomy.

Learning Technologies Inc. supplies inexpensive, hands-on materials for teaching astronomy through ScienceFirst.

Edmund Scientifics carries all kinds of interesting science and engineering related materials.

Class Lecture Notes

The Sky (ppt, pdf)

The Seasons (ppt, pdf)

Phases of the Moon (ppt, pdf)

Eclipses (ppt, pdf)

Lunar Geology (ppt, pdf)

 

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Funds for this project were provided by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.