OpenStax Astronomy

Access, develop and share resources created by the OpenStax community that align with OpenStax Astronomy.
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All resources in OpenStax Astronomy

Science Fiction Stories Based on Good Astronomy

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This is a guide to science fiction stories and novels which are based on reasonably good science (and can thus be recommended in introductory astronomy courses.) The stories are organized by astronomical topic. While most of the stories are available only in print, a number are now published electronically free of charge, and links to those are included.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study, Homework/Assignment, Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Some Useful Websites to Obtain Astronomical Images

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This resource suggests some of the best places on the web for astronomy instructors to obtain high-quality images for showing in class (and gives the direct URL for obtaining the photos). It includes general sources, such as the Hubble image gallery and NASA’s Planetary Photojournal, as well as more specific sources for a particular observatory or wavelength range.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Astronomy Star Project

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This is a project I assign my students in an introductory, non-science major astronomy class. Each student is assigned one of the 25 brightest stars in the sky and they are asked to research and apply concepts they have been learning in the class to their particular star. I leave it up to them to decide the format of their final project - most do PowerPoint but some have done videos or podcasts. One student actually landed a part time job at a radio station after they heard her recording her star project! Many students tell me this is a highlight of the course!

Material Type: Assessment

Author: Erik Christensen

OpenStax Astronomy Slide Presentations in pdf form

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The slideshows that go with OpenStax Astronomy are PowerPoint, which is great for editing and improving, but a bit awkward for instructors who need to load MS PowerPoint in order to present. I used the cc-by license to place them on Wikiversity. I also invite others to collaborate on developing OpenStax materials on Wikiversity and/or Miraheze.

Material Type: Lecture, Lecture Notes, Student Guide

Author: The authors of OpenStax Astronomy

OpenStax Astronomy Video Lecture List

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This is a list of video lectures that I have created for an online class that I teach. These are lectures from each of the 30 chapters in the OpenStax textbook. The lectures generally run between 10 and 20 minutes and I have created 2-4 per chapter. The links are all to videos loaded to YouTube and are all captioned (edited by me, not YouTube auto captioning). Images were obtained from Wikimedia Commons and were limited to those in the public domain or under a CC license and are credited in the footer of each slide. Feel free to use any that you find useful or provide the list to students who may want to review the materials. For anyone interested, I can provide access to the lecture slides as well so that they could be modified to fit your specific requirements. You can contact me directly at: This resource has been updated to a full list of 99 lectures covering all 30 chapters in the book.

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Robert Wagner

Introduction To Astronomy (ASTR 101)

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This course provides an introduction to the universe beyond the Earth. We begin with a study of the night sky and the history of the science of astronomy. We then explore the various objects seen in the cosmos including the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself. As an online course, it is equivalent to 6 lecture hours, and satisfies science requirements for the AA and AS degree. It is designed to be thorough enough to prepare you for more advanced work, while presenting the concepts to non-majors in a way that is meaningful and not overwhelming. We will consider the course a success if you have learned how to think about the universe critically in an organized, logical way, and to have enhanced your appreciation of the sky around us.

Material Type: Assessment, Full Course, Reading, Syllabus

Earth Science

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Earth science is the study of our home planet and all of its components: its lands, waters, atmosphere, and interior. In this book, some chapters are devoted to the processes that shape the lands and impact people. Other chapters depict the processes of the atmosphere and its relationship to the planet’s surface and all our living creatures. For as long as people have been on the planet, humans have had to live within Earth’s boundaries. Now human life is having a profound effect on the planet. Several chapters are devoted to the effect people have on the planet. Chapters at the end of the book will explore the universe beyond Earth: planets and their satellites, stars, galaxies, and beyond.

Material Type: Full Course, Textbook


Women in Astronomy

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This is a guide for Astronomy 101 instructors (and other educators) on the issues that have faced women in astronomy and the work of some of the women who can serve as role models for the next generation. Written by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College), it is part of a series called “Unheard Voices,” sponsored by the Heliophysics Forum of the Space Missions Directorate at NASA. The guide includes written, on-line, and audio-visual materials, many of which can be used directly in the classroom or for student papers. It features sections on: the history of women in astronomy in general, materials on selected women astronomers of the past, issues facing women in astronomy today, and materials on selected contemporary women astronomers.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Star Concept Connection Cards

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These concept connection cards can be used in small groups or for self study. They help students build an understanding of three core topics in astronomy -- the HR diagram, light, and fusion. The file includes instructions for usage, as well as cards in multiple formats. They were created by Kaisa Young from Nicholls State University.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: OpenStax, Rice University

Guide for Debunking Pseudo-Science Connected with Astronomy

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In this guide, you will find books, articles, and websites that help teachers of astronomy address some of the weird topics on the fringes of science that students sometimes hear about and want to have clarification for. Included are astrology, UFOs as alien spaceships, crop circles, denial of evolution and the big bang, the “face” on Mars, claims that NASA never landed astronauts on the Moon, and others.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Student Guide, Syllabus

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

The Astronomy of Many Cultures

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This downloadeable resource guide, for instructors and students in introductory astronomy courses, focuses on the contributions to astronomy of African, Asian, Hispanic, South Pacific, Islamic, and Native American cultures. It also contains a section on reports and articles for achieving greater diversity in science. Written by Andrew Fraknoi, the guide is part of a series sponsored by the Heliophysics Forum of the Space Missions Directorate at NASA. It includes written, on-line, and audio-visual materials, which can be used directly in the classroom, for student papers, or for personal enrichment.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Lecture Notes, Reading

Author: Andrew Fraknoi