Principles of Astronomy

Principles of Astronomy, by Dr Jamie Love, is a specially written, self-paced, self-learning "hypertextbook" used offline from your hard disk.

These 48 lessons and 8 exams evolved out of 12 years of teaching astronomy over the Internet preceded by many years teaching astronomy in a more conventional setting. From that feedback, Dr Love learned where students had the most difficulty so he rewrote or added new material to the hypertextbook in order to address those problems. It is now a complete, tried and tested astronomy course, perfect for home schools, high schools or hobbyists - anyone wanting a solid education in astronomy. It is also useful as a university-level introduction to Astronomy.

More information is below and in the FAQ or you can simply enjoy the sample of the first quarter of the course

This course is a healthy mix of both observational astronomy and academic astronomy. Jamie teaches the identification along with the concepts and to do that he has chosen specific topics to coincide with things you can actually observe (most of the time). Students will learn how to identify the bright stars and obvious constellations as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. ["Southerners" might want to read the FAQ addressing their concerns.] Students will gain an understanding of astronomy to the level expected of a first-semester, university-level astronomy course, but pretty light on the math.

Principles of Astronomy is a complete educational package using all the advantages of the Internet while keeping the technology simple and online use to a minimum. If you have a browser on your computer, then you have the technology to learn astronomy using this innovative hypertextbook. Self evaluation exams provide instant feedback and reinforce the learning. In addition to the hypertextbook, students are directed to websites where further, often more advanced, information can be found. Also, students are told where to get free astronomy software that complements what is taught in the hypertextbook. These ancillary websites and programs are not required for the course but it would be a shame not to point them out to the curious student.

Each lesson comes with a Study Guide to help the student plan and organize his or her thoughts. The student can complete a glossary to keep track of the 425 new terms and phrases taught in this course. An alphabetical list of the more than 300 astronomy objects (mostly stars and constellations) encourages the student to keep a list of objects seen or learned.

The course is divided into four quarters with 12 lessons in each. After finishing a quarter the student is encouraged to take the pair of exams - one tests the student's understanding of the academic astronomy and the other examines the student's ability to identify stars, constellations and other objects. All exam consists of 20 questions with 4 (multiple) choices. That's a total of 8 exams and 160 questions! The browser's JavaScript must be enabled in order to give feedback and score the exams.

Click this button to see if your javascript is working.
If you did not get a "JavaScript alert box" pop up when you clicked that button, your JavaScript is not enabled and you cannot take the exams. How do you turn JavaScript on? Well that depends on your browser but it is usually somewhere in the Preferences or Security settings. Poke around and enable your browser’s JavaScript, test it on that button and then you will be ready for the exam.

What people are saying about Principles of Astronomy

"You have a very amazing course and it is the ONLY one I have seen among non-degree astronomy education resources that contains all the principles of a successful computerized course." Leila Sadeghi Ardestani - Swinburne Astronomy Online

The Harrisonburg City Public Schools use Principles of Astronomy for their high school astronomy course. The teacher says, "We continue to enjoy your wonderfully written 'book'... What I like best about your approach is that it is NOT an advanced physics course and is accessible to a wide range of students."

Site highly rated by

This course has gained a 4 star rating listed in the Schoolzone web guide- the UK’s largest, independent education web site.
A K-12 Directory of Schools Top Ranked Website

"I have just finished your course and would like to thank you for the time and effort you must have put into it. Over the past 35 years, as time permitted from family and a demanding professional life, I have taken a number of astronomy courses but yours is by far and away - the best!"

"My husband knows a lot about astronomy and I started this class in order to have another thing in common with him... I especially enjoy the exams. I click on all the answers because I learn from the wrong ones as well as the correct ones! Great job! And your lessons are easy for a layperson to understand."

"I found your website online. I am thoroughly enjoying the course, and will buy the rest now!"

"I am a Gran who is home schooling my grandson for his 11th grade year in school. We are using your Astronomy lessons for this coures and enjoy its easy reading style, understandable science and useful exams."

"Absolutely intriguing. Thank you for producing something that I, and my 9 month old Ridgeback, can study when we're out on the beach at night. ... your explanations make everything much easier to rotate in my mind."

"Well this has really been an eye opener. Thanks to you I have learned so much in these past 4 months. Such a wonderful package that you have put together."

Have a look at the free, on line sample containing the first quarter of this course (16 lessons plus two exams) and support materials.

Note that the purchased course does not have the adverts seen in the free sample.

You might also want to browse the Frequently Asked Questions about the course.

Download a FREE copy of the Sample Principles of Astronomy and give it a try. This way you can test your ability to handle the download as well as see how the course runs on your computer.
Note: this course is an HTML web-program, not an "app". This course will not run from an iPhone or other "smart" phone. It only runs from your computer's hard drive.

You can purchase Principles of Astronomy for only $40 online through the secure server at Merlin Science. If you are not happy with your purchase you can return it for a full refund.

If you need more information, feel free to email Dr Jamie Love

You won't find a better Astronomy course on the Internet!