Principles of Astronomy is copyright protected, is the sole property of the author (Dr Jamie Love © 1997 - 2011) and is sold exclusively by Merlin Science. Any form of reproduction by any media is strictly forbidden.
In this sample, only the first quarter of the course is available. The remaining section are included in the complete hypertextbook, which does not have the advertisements displayed here in this sample. To learn more about the course and hypertextbook, visit the Principles of Astronomy website.

Recommended Astronomy Websites

by Dr Jamie Love © 1997 - 2011

Your astronomy hypertextbook has all the information you need to learn astronomy but I have discovered some excellent places on the Internet that you might find useful. There are a large number of astronomy websites out there and I am not trying to give you an extensive list. Indeed, I am trying to keep the list small by choosing only sites that are relevant and useful. These websites can be categorized into three types.

  1. Those that reinforce specific lessons.
  2. Websites that could be useful throughout this course or anytime after.
  3. Websites providing additional information for the curious or those wishing a more advanced explanation (sometimes including a mathematical treatment).
Please read the short description I provide in order to understand what to expect and get the most out of these websites.
By the way, these websites are NOT under my control. They are/were as described below but I accept no responsibility if they change (for the worse) or disappear. I would be happy to hear from you about any websites you recommend (or suggestions that the ones I've recommended are not as good as I think. )

January Lesson Supplement

The USA Navy has a universal clock on the Web. Grab the time from the Navy clock and learn the current UT (minus the few seconds it takes to load to your machine). Make a note of how far off your local time is from UT. And, while you are there, have a poke around to learn more about time.

May Lesson Supplement

The Earth's magnetosphere is very complicated and I have given you only a brief introduction to it. The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere is an educational web site by David P. Stern and Mauricio Peredo. It is non-mathematical but very detailed and likely to provide you with additional information that you might want to know. David and Maurici include a download of the entire course so you can study it offline (like our course).

June Lesson Supplement

Kepler's laws describe planetary motion but there is more to orbits than Kepler's three laws. Indeed, there are eight values to describe any orbit. Things You Need to Know in Order to Calculate a Satellite's Orbit provides a brief explanation of all eight of these Keplerian Elements. If you want more details you can learn a lot at the Keplerian Elements Tutorial website.

July Lesson Supplement

Check out NASA's Eclipse Website for useful and detailed information about upcoming eclipses - to plan your next vacation!

Stars show variations in brightness due to lots of different things, not just the orbiting of an eclipsing binary. Some have to do with the actual physics of the star. At this point in your education you are ready to think about all the different ways a star's magnitude might change. The American Association of Variable Star Observers is the perfect place to learn more about variable stars - what causes them to be variable, where to find them and even how your own observations can help us to learn more about stars. Once you've visited this website you might find that your hobby could become your addiction!

August Lesson Supplement

Seiichi Yoshida's Home Page is a great website to find information about comets that are currently visible usually with a small telescope including orbital diagrams and finder charts. This website also has recent news and observations about comets as well as predictions about comets that will be visible in the near future.

You might find my article, "Martian Fossils", worth a read. The focus is on exo-biology but you will also learn how meteorites are studied, including descriptions of some of the analytical techniques used.

September Lesson Supplement

Now that you understand the geometry of planetary tilts, you might find my article "Water on the Moon" to be relevant and interesting. I wrote this article soon after hidden water was discovered on our neighbor. It includes descriptions of how water was detected, how the water got there, where it is located (which has to do with the tilt), and why this is such an important find.

October Lesson Supplement

We've talk about messier objects throughout our course and I introduced you to several of them but there are plenty more to learn about. The Messier Catalog lists every messier object - how to find and identify them, what they look like (with magnification) and an explanation of what each one is. I've been holding back telling you about this website because, as you now know, Messier objects represent a wide variety of astronomical objects caused by different phenomenon. Now is the time visit this website (and bookmark it) to enjoy the diversity. How many messier objects can you find?

December Lesson Supplement

Introduction to Cosmology introduces basic concepts in modern cosmology and describes the WMAP mission at a general level. Once you have finished with our lessons in cosmology, you may want more information and this website is a great place to find it. (I make no promise that you will understand it but it's there for your curiosity.)

Planetary Reference Material

A web site called The Nine Planets has a large amount of information about all the moons, comets and asteroids in the solar system, as well as the nine planets (of course). My astronomy lessons touch only briefly on this area of astronomy, so I highly recommend it as "additional reading". Consider this your online reference to specific details about the Solar System. The difference between reference materials (like The Nine Planets) and learning materials (like our course) is that you are not expected to actually study and learn reference materials but they are handy to have around.

Experience "Real Astronomy" in 3-D!

Celestia4All is "real astronomy" in stunning 3-D! Don't just observe the planets and stars; VISIT THEM! Endless wonder for all ages!

Anytime and Many Times

NASA's Ask-A-Scientist Astronomy Archive provides short (about a paragraph but sometimes a page) answers to many commonly asked questions in astronomy. Some of the answers are a bit weak because there isn't enough time to offer a proper class on the subject. (Not everyone has an astronomy hypertextbook like you!) However, this handy website will satisfy your curiosity until we get to the detailed subjects in our course. Also, it may answer questions on topics that just don't fit into our course (because they are too specific). The answers seem to be pitched to about high school age.

Astronomy Lab Manual

The University of Colorado has produced an Online Astronomy Lab Manual with lots of experiments. This would be a good supplement for folks wanting to make their astronomy more scientific. Note that this is a lab manual for a university level course and is designed to be supported by the university's staff and lab. About half the experiments require sophisticated equipment. Others require an understanding of math (but there is an EXCELLENT math review to help you get up to speed). Regardless, check out the website and download the entire manual or any portion you like. You must have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer (but you can pick it up at this website - FREE).

For a Deeper Understanding of Astronomy

David P. Stern's From Stargazers to Starships is a book-on-the-web providing more advanced explanations of many topics we cover in this course (the Earth's motion, Kepler's Laws, the Sun, etc.) as well as some topics I only mention (such as Newtonian mechanics, Spaceflight and Spacecraft). This website will give, those of you who want it, a more rigorous, mathematical education in astronomy. David assumes you have had high school geometry and algebra.

To Watch Some Man-made Heavenly Bodies

The Heavens-Above has all the information you need to observe satellites, Mir, the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle (when it's up there) as well as the dazzlingly bright "flares" from Iridium satellites (while they're up there).

Space Cadets Port of Call

Robert M. Braeuing will introduce you to the physics and hardware of spaceflight at his excellent website, Rocket and Space Technology. Many of my students ask me questions about the nuts and bolts of the space age and I am quick to point them to this website for very good explanations. If you are only interested in "natural" astronomy, you should still have a look at Robert's website because his section on orbital mechanics sums up a lot of important info on one clean, neat page.

Advanced Astrophysics Experiments

The website Astronomy Workshop has lots of great simulations and you can play around with them online throughout our course (if you want). Some use pretty advanced concepts but you can always simply plug in the numbers and see what happens!

Extraterrestrial Biologists!

NASA's Astrobiology Homepage will get you started on a wonderful and fascinating subject. Find out what the folks at NASA are saying about ET life.

If you are looking for someone to talk to, then SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is for you. You can join the SETI@home project and help us look for signs of intelligent radio signals!

Principles of Astronomy is copyright protected, is the sole property of the author (Dr Jamie Love © 1996 - 2011) and is sold exclusively by Merlin Science.
Any form of reproduction by any media is strictly forbidden. All rights reserved.

In this sample, only the first quarter of the course is available. The remaining sections are included in the complete hypertextbook, which does not have the advertisements displayed here in this sample. To learn more about the course and hypertextbook, visit the Principles of Astronomy website.