All resources in Physical Sciences

Length Scales in the Solar System

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A dynamically simplified solar system is constructed from online data to explore the real solar system on many different scales. The realistically scaled solar system is surprising because nothing is visible due to the presence of many different scales. That is why it is usually rescaled in animations or illustrations. This is nice but gives us a wrong sense of distances and sizes. This Demonstration is intended to show the solar system's different scales in their full glory. Since it is hardly possible to see anything when the real scales are used, controls have been added to modify the sizes of the celestial bodies.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Diagram/Illustration, Homework/Assignment, Interactive, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Cedric Voisin

Activities for Galaxies and Cosmology

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These activities cover topics in Galaxies and Cosmology, aligned with the OpenStax Astronomy textbook. Topics cover chapters 1, 5, 6, 24-30, and sections of chapter 17 and 19 concerning distance. All activities are designed to be done in small groups in the classroom, but most can be adapted for use as homework or projects. Quantitative and Hands-on activities may be used as labs. This is one part of an astronomy resource collection by Lane Community College. This collection was built by Andrea Goering ( and Richard Wagner (, instructors of physics and astronomy at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Development of these resources was funded through LCC's OER Initiative ( We'd love to hear about your use of these resources! Let us know what you're using, sign up for updates, and submit corrections, suggestions, or comments here: Find the full collection here:

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Full Course, Homework/Assignment

Authors: Andrea Goering, Richard Wagner

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


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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

Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics

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This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.

Material Type: Full Course

Author: Charles Bailyn

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

Astronomy for Educators

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Our students need to be prepared to take on the challenges of a technology-rich and science-dependent 21st-century economy. If we are to empower them to address these future challenges, it is time we began to change the way we teach science starting in elementary school. We have spent years teaching science as a collection of facts, teaching children what we know instead of allowing them to discover things for themselves. It is critical that the children in our classes understand how science works, both its strengths and its weaknesses. I believe that children can only do this effectively by participating in science activities, getting their hands dirty and seeing how science works, and why science sometimes fails.

Material Type: Textbook

Author: Daniel E. Barth

BCIT Astronomy 7000: A Survey of Astronomy

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This edition of the OpenStax Astronomy text has been edited by Douglas College’s Jennifer Kirkey (to whom my thanks go for help in transitioning to OpenStax) to include references to Canadian astronomers as well as the contributions of our First Nations. I am open to your comments and suggestions regarding the textbook. Because it is open source, it can be edited and updated to suit your needs and wishes.

Material Type: Textbook

Author: OpenStax

Our Solar System and Other Planetary Systems

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Textbook for ASTRON 102 THE SOLAR SYSTEM at College of the Canyons Surveys the solar system, including the earth and its motions and seasons; the moon, eclipses, and tides; the content and dynamics of the solar system; planets and their satellites, asteroids, comets, and meteorites; and the evolution of the solar system.

Material Type: Textbook