All resources in OpenStax Astronomy

Science Fiction Stories Based on Good Astronomy

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See Note at End. 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. NOTE: An updated version of this resource can be found at:

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

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

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


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Intended for all audiences, this textbook is an introduction to the nature of the universe. Use it to research or review our solar system, stars, galaxies, and the history of the universe. Each chapter has a set of corresponding homework questions.

Material Type: Full Course, Textbook

Author: Chris Impey

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

OpenStax Lecture Slides

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These are a set of lecture slide that I have created for the OpenStax astronomy textbook. For each chapter, there are between 2 and 4 sets of slides broken down into topics following the flow of the chapter. In each case, the slides come in three formats: Keynote, PowerPoint and pdf. Note that the slides were created using Keynote so there may be some minor formatting issues in the PowerPoint versions. Please feel free to use/modify any of these as you find useful for your classes.

Material Type: Lecture Notes

Author: Robert Wagner

Some Plays (and Films) about Astronomers

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This is a first attempt at making an annotated list of plays and films that are specifically about astronomers. No claim is made for completeness and additional suggestions are most welcome. I don't list operas here. A list of astronomy operas is included in my topical listing of music inspired by astronomy at:

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Reading, Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

A Catalog of 250+ Pieces of Music Inspired by Serious Astronomy

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This new annotated guide (part of a series devoted to resources for enjoying or teaching astronomy) features over 250 pieces of music inspired by serious astronomy, including both classical and popular music examples. YouTube links are given for the vast majority, so you (or your students) can listen to them. Among the pieces included is: 1) a Hubble Space Telescope cantata, 2) eight rock songs about black holes with reasonable science, 3) a supernova piano sonata, 4) a musical exploration of the Messier catalog of nebulae, clusters, and galaxies, 5) a moving song about Stephen Hawking, 6) Moon songs by the Grateful Dead, George Harrison, and the Police, 7) piano pieces “for children with small hands” named after the constellations, 8) operas about Galileo, Kepler, and Einstein, and many more.

Material Type: Module

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Foothill College AstroSims

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The Foothill College AstroSims project is ensuring continued access to astro-education simulations past the deprecation of Java and Flash. This site includes: * re-implementations in HTML5/Javascript of existing astro-education simulations, * new simulations of previously unaddressed topics, and * a frequently updated list of astro-education simulations.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive, Simulation

Authors: Andrew Tran, Baba Kofi Weusijana, Chris Achenbach, Geoffrey Mathews, Safi Mohammed

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

Free On-line Lab Activities for Astro 101

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This annotated index includes a wide range of free, online labs appropriate for Astro 101 courses, organized by chapter of the OpenStax Astronomy textbook. So, you can look up free labs on Kepler's Laws, H-R diagram, the Drake Equation, and many other topics in introductory astronomy. These lab activities have been put on line by universities, NASA and NSF sponsored projects, and instructors who want to share their labs with colleagues. If we have missed any labs that are available free online, please suggest additions by emailing

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Module, Unit of Study

Author: Andrew Fraknoi