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Teaching Astronomy

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Library of Congress Introduction

Graphic: Woman in flowing robes, hoding a disc in one hand and a planet in the other.
Mural of Astronomy.
Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Painted by Walter Shirlaw. Photo: Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. item/2007684510/


Astronomy is a great subject, and this is a great time to be teaching it. Astronomy encompasses culture and history, mathematics and physical science, myth and imagination, and more. For both pure and applied science, astronomy is a constantly evolving field as exploration reaches farther into space, as technology for telescopes and space travel develops, and as the search for life beyond our own planet accelerates. The many aspects of astronomy offer a variety of fascinating career possibilities; it can be a lifelong passion and hobby, and it is always a continuing education.

The educational environment is going through changes, many of which involve digital components such as web sites that enhance book content, citizen science projects, online courses (MOOCs – Massive Open Online Course), social media channels, venues for digital video, blogs, and much more. This guide lists a selection of books about teaching astronomy, along with a selection of web-based resources such as online videos, blogs, citizen science projects, and other social media that offer new and exciting ways to teach, as well as to stay current with the subject.

The print books listed below can be found at the Library of Congress and many will also be found in local and school libraries. Many more titles can be identified by searching the LC Catalog online -- instructions are provided at the end of the guide. Suggestions on the best catalog search terms are provided after each sub-section below.



Next Generation Science Standards
   The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K-12 science standards created through a collaborative, state-led process.

Nubgaard, Natasha.  Science Education in the 21st Century.  LC Science Tracer Bullet (13-4), July 2013.  20 p.

Successful STEM Education.  A National Science Foundation Initiative.



Textbooks are listed in a separate section below.

Driscoll, Michael.  A child's introduction to the night sky: the story of the stars, planets, and constellations, and how you can find them in the sky.  New York, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Distributed by Workman Pub. Co., c2004.  93 p.
LC call number: QB46.D78 2004 LANDOVR
   Includes a Star-Finder and Glow-in-the-Dark Stickers.

Great ideas for teaching astronomy.  Edited by Stephen M. Pompea.  3rd ed.  Australia; Pacific Grove, CA, Brooks/Cole, c2000.  244 p.
LC call number: QB61.G74 2000

Levy, David H., Larry A. Lebofsky, and Nancy R. Lebofsky.  Sharing the sky: a parent's and teacher's guide to astronomy.  New York, Plenum Press, c1997.  308 p.
LC call number: QB61.L47 1997 SciRR

Moché, Dinah L.  Astronomy: a self-teaching guide.  7th ed.  Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley, c2009.  363 p.  (Wiley self-teaching guides, 190)
LC call number: QB45.2.M63 2009 LANDOVR

Stott, Carole, and Giles Sparrow.  Starfinder: the complete beginner's guide to the night sky.  2013 ed.  New York, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2013.  124 p. + 1 planisphere.
LC call number: QB63.S76 2013



Carson, Mary Kay.  Exploring the solar system: a history with 22 activities.  Chicago, Chicago Review Press, c2006.  168 p.
LC call number: QB500.262.C37 2006 LANDOVR

Harrington, Philip S., and Edward Pascuzzi  Astronomy for all ages: discovering the universe through activities for children and adults.  2nd ed.  Guilford, CT, Globe Pequot Press, c2000.  214 p.   
LC call number: QB63.H317 2000 LANDOVR

McCutcheon, Marc.  The space book: activities for experiencing the universe and night sky.  Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley, c2003.  118 p. 
LC call number: QB61.M38 2003 LANDOVR

To find more basic introductory astronomy books in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on the following subject heading: Astronomy--Study and teaching



Consolmagno, Guy, and Dan M. Davis.  Turn left at Orion: hundreds of night sky   objects to see in a home telescope--and how to find them.  4th ed.   Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011.  255 p.
LC call number: QB63.C69 2011 SciRR

Dickinson, Terence.  NightWatch: a practical guide to viewing the universe.  4th ed.  Buffalo, Richmond Hill, Ont., Firefly Books, 2006.  192 p.
LC call number: QB26.D535 2006 SciRR

Hockey, Thomas A.  How we see the sky: a naked-eye tour of day & night.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2011.  239 p.
LC call number: QB44.3.H635 2011

O'Meara, Stephen James.  Observing the night sky with binoculars: a simple guide to the heavens.  Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008.  149 p.
LC call number: QB63.O64 2008 LANDOVR

Scagell, Robin.  Stargazing with a telescope.  4th ed.  Buffalo, Firefly Books, 2014.  192 p. 
LC call number: QB63.S365 2014 SciRR

Scagell, Robin, and David Frydman.  Stargazing with binoculars.  4th ed.  Buffalo, Firefly Books, 2014.  208 p.
LC call number: QB63.S366 2014 OVERFLOWJ34 (Shelf location:  FLS2015 041501)

Schaaf, Fred.  The starry room: naked eye astronomy in the intimate universe.  Mineola, NY, Dover Publications, c2002.  264 p.
LC call number: QB64.S43 2002 LANDOVR

Talcott, Richard L.  Teach yourself visually astronomy.  Hoboken,NJ, Wiley, c2009.  243 p. 
LC call number: QB44.3.T35 2009 LANDOVR

To find more titles on this subject in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on any of the following subject headings:
   Astronomy--Observers’ manuals
   Constellations--Observers’ manuals
   Planets--Observers’ manuals
   Stars--Observers’ manuals



Cerow, Don.  When the dragon wore the crown-center and circle: putting starlight back into myth.  Lake Worth, FL, Ibis Press, 2013.  213 p.
Bibliography: p. 208-213.
LC call number: QB16.C47 2013

Fraser, Craig G.  The cosmos: a historical perspective.  Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 2006.  179 p. 
Bibliography: p. 167-171.
LC call number: QB981.F68 2006 LANDOVR

Grego, Peter, and David Mannion.  Galileo and 400years of telescopic astronomy.  New York, Springer, c2010.  300 p. 
“Best astronomy sites to visit”: p. 257-275.
“Useful Websites”: p. 277-278.
LC call number: QB28.G74 2010 SciRR

Kelley, David H., and Eugene F. Milone.  Exploring ancient skies, a survey of ancient and cultural astronomy.  2nd ed.  New York, Springer, c2011.  614 p.     
LC call number: QB16.K44 2011

To find more titles on this subject in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on any of the following subject headings:
   Astronomy, Ancient



Asimov, Isaac.  A stargazer's guide.  With revisions and updating by Richard Hantula.  Rev. and updated ed.  Milwaukee, WI, Gareth Stevens Pub., 2005.  32 p.   
LC call number: QB64.A754 2005 LANDOVR

Bagnall, Philip M.  The star atlas companion: what you need to know about the constellations.  New York, Springer, 2012.  486 p.
LC call number: QB63.B24 2012 SciRR

Scagell, Robin.  Night sky atlas: the moon, planets, stars and deep sky objects.  With maps by Wil Tirion.  2nd ed.  Buffalo, Firefly Books, 2012.  1 atlas (128 p.).
LC call number: G1000.2.S3 2012 G&M

Simpson, Phil.  Guidebook to the constellations.  New York, Springer, c2012.  863 p.
LC call number: QB63.S573 2012 SciRR

Sparrow, Giles.  Atlas of the constellations: discover the secrets of the night sky.  New York, Gramercy Books, 2007.  112 p.
LC call number: QB802.S63 2007 LANDOVR

Tirion, Wil.  The Cambridge star atlas.  4th ed.  Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011.  1 atlas (90 p.).
LC call number: G1000.2.T4 2011 SciRR

To find more titles on this subject in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on any of the following subject headings:
   Constellations--Charts, diagrams, etc.
   Stars--Charts, diagrams, etc.



The biographical encyclopedia of astronomers.  Editor-in-chief, Thomas Hockey.  2nd ed.    New York, Springer, c2014.  4 v.  (2434 p.)
LC call number: QB35.B565 2015 SciRR

Levy, David H., and Wendee Wallach-Levy.  Cosmic discoveries: the wonders of astronomy.  Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2001.  232 p.
LC call number: QB35.L48 2001 LANDOVR

McCutcheon, Scott, and Bobbi McCutcheon.  Space and astronomy: the people behind the science.  New York, Chelsea House, c2006.  192 p.
LC call number: QB35.M224 2006 SciRR

Todd, Deborah, and Joseph A. Angelo, Jr.  A to Z of scientists in space and astronomy.  New York, Facts on File, c2005.  322 p.
LC call number: QB35.T63 2005 SciRR

To find more titles on this subject in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on any of the following subject headings:



Astronomy Clubs
   Provides alphabetic list of clubs around the world by country.

Dark Skies, Bright Kids
    All volunteer-run program out of the University of Virginia Astronomy Department with the core mission of enhancing science education for elementary school students targeted at underserved schools in rural Virginia.

Hands-on Astronomy Activities
   The Astronomical Society of the Pacific points to activities from Project ASTRO™, the Universe at Your Fingertips, the Universe in Your Classroom, Family ASTRO, and much more.

Night Sky Network
   Sponsored by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; networks astronomy clubs around the country.



Astronomy Education Review
   E-journal, published by the American Astronomical Society. Full-text article access, 2001-2013 (as of June 2015).

Mercury Magazine
   Published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Contains articles related to astronomy education. Table of contents and select excerpts only.

Universe in the Classroom
   Online newsletter for teachers from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.



There are FEW astronomy titles (little over 75) which have the subdivision Textbooks (Astronomy--Textbooks) in the Library of Congress online catalog as the subdivision Textbooks was not used before 2001 in the catalog.   A representative sample is listed below.  These are usually issued in newer editions on a regular basis and are aimed at introductory high school or college level students.

21st century astronomy.  Laura Kay and others.  4th ed.  New York, W.W. Norton & Co., c2013.  747, [71] p. 
LC call number: QB45.2.A14 2013 OVERFLOWA5S (Shelf location: FLM2014 017532)

Arny, Thomas, and Stephen E. Schneider.  Explorations: an introduction to astronomy.  7th ed.  New York, McGraw-Hill, c2014.  1 v. (various pagings)
LC call number: QB45.2.A76 2014 SciRR

Chaisson, Eric, and Steve McMillan.  Astronomy: a beginner's guide to the universe.  7th ed.  Boston, Pearson, 201 .  721 p.
 LC call number: QB43.3.C43.2013

The Cosmic perspective.  Jeffrey Bennett and others.  7th ed.  Boston, Addison-Wesley, c2014.  721 p.
LC call number: QB43.3.C68 2014

Seeds, Michael A., and Dana Backman.  Universe: solar systems, stars, and galaxies.  8th ed.  Boston, Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2014.  512 p.
LC call number: QB45.2.S45 2014  OVERFLOWA5S (Shelf location: FLM2014 080091)

To find more astronomy textbooks in the LC Online Catalog, do a Subjects Beginning With search on the following subject heading:



Earth and space science: making connections in education and public outreach.  Edited by Joseph B. Jensen, James G. Manning, Michael G. Gibbs.  San Francisco, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2011.  493 p.  (Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference series, v. 443)
LC call number: QB61.E187 2011

The Role of astronomy in society and culture: proceedings of the 260th symposium of the International Astronomical Union, held at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, January 19-23, 2009.  Edited by David Valls-Gabaud and Alexander Boksenberg.  Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011.  793 p.
LC call number: QB1.I628 2009



Nubgaard, Natasha. Space Science Projects. LC Science Tracer Bullet (13-6), August 2013. 20 p.
   This guide provides a selection of information sources that can assist students, parents and teachers throughout the process of planning, developing, implementing and competing in science fair activities related to space science.  Sources range in suitability from elementary to secondary school levels.

Teaching with Primary Sources Journal
   Strategies and resources for K-12 classrooms from the Library of Congress.

Teaching with Primary Sources Program
   Works with colleges and other educational organizations to deliver professional development programs that help teachers use the Library of Congress's rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials to design challenging, high-quality instruction.  Also see Teacher Page for classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections.

Understanding the Cosmos: Changing Models of the Solar System and the Universe
   This primary resource set contains ready-to-use materials of models of the solar system and universe, including drawings and illustrations by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Descartes, and Galileo.  Also available as a Free E-book



Amazing Space: for Educators and Developers
   Amazing Space “uses the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe.”

American Astronomical Society: Resources for Educators

Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Educational Resources
   See especially the list of annotated online K-12 activities.

comPADRE Digital Library
   A network of free online resource collections supporting faculty, students, and teachers in physics and astronomy education.

CosmoQuest: Educators Zone
   CosmoQuest related materials for your classroom such as lesson plans and curricula. 

JPL Center for Astronomy Education

NASA Education for Educators

NASA Education for Students         

NASA Space Place for Parents & Educators

Teach Astronomy
   Serves astronomy instructors and their students, amateur astronomers, and members of the public interested in astronomy.



Citizen science is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (2014) as “scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.”  There are numerous astronomy citizen science projects that can help engage students in science research and discovery.  Below are some selections. 

Cosmo Quest: Citizen Science
   Get involved with helping scientists “map other worlds, explore the universe, and contribute to science.”

Zooniverse: Space
   Zooniverse is home to the Internet's largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects such as Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters, Moon Zoo, and much more.
   Also see Zoo Teach which provides lesson plans and resources for Galaxy Zoo.



Deep Astronomy YouTube Channel

Introduction to Astronomy YouTube Channel
   Frank Gregorio (Science teacher in Manassas, VA) YouTube Channel – “This channel is dedicated to providing teachers and students a powerful new resource to combat student apathy.”

Library of Congress Youtube Channel: Topics in Science Playlist
   A collection of online videos of programs held at LC, on a variety of science topics including many on the space sciences.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center YouTube Channel: Science Education Playlist

   The Planetary Society provides a plethora of videos about astronomy.  Of most interest to teachers and students is Random Space Facts and Bruce Bett’s Online College Intro Astronomy Course  Planetary Society videos are also available on its YouTube channel

SciShow Space YouTube Channel
   “SciShow Space explores the universe a few minutes at a time.  From facts about astronomy and cosmology to the latest in space news, we take you through the cosmos -- no space suit required!”

Universe Today with Fraser Cain YouTube Channel
   Fraser Cain investigates various concepts in space and astronomy in these short videos from Universe Today.

YouTube Hubble
   “At the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), we're working hard to study and explain the once-unimaginable celestial phenomena now made visible using Hubble's cutting-edge technology.  In the course of this exploration we will continue to share with you the grace and beauty of the universe, because the discoveries belong to all of us.”



   CAPER Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Blog
    NSTA blog currently consists of fourteen categories such as STEM classroom, Science 2.0, and SciLinks.

Teaching with the Library of Congress
   Teaching strategies, outstanding primary sources, lesson plans, teacher resources, and current thinking on effective classroom practice are all open for discussion.  Includes many articles that focus on the sciences.



There is an abundance of social media channels (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Hangouts, Instagram, and Pinterest) that focus on astronomy news, images, and updates.  Many organizations such as NASA or astronomy magazines such as Sky and Telescope offer various ways to connect with its resources.  Just visit your favorite astronomy site and you will surely find links to its social media channels.  Here are a few examples:

CosmoQuest Inspiring Science Education Hangouts
   Inspiring Science Education Hangout Series is hosted by Dr. Pamela L. Gay. These hangouts consist of a series of live events and training videos that present timeless astronomy education materials designed to help students learn science through inquiry.

EarthSky Twitter Feed
   Science news, great photos, sky alerts. 

NASA on  Instagram
   Just of one of NASA’s account on Instagram that highlights images from the vast universe and here on earth, accompanied by educational captions.

Sky and Telescope Facebook page
   Sky and Telescope Facebook page lists articles, videos, and images related to science and hobby of astronomy.

Teaching Astronomy Boards on Pinterest
   Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that can be used to find online astronomy lessons and projects.  There are numerous teaching astronomy boards to explore; the link above brings you to all the pins (images/content) related to teaching astronomy.

How to Use the Library of Congress Online Catalog

The catalog is open-access; you can use it anywhere. If you have a Library of Congress Readers’ Card and password you can request books before you come in.  For assistance with any aspect of the catalog, ask a reference librarian, or use Ask-A-Librarian.

Online Catalog Home Page:
In the blue box you will see a Quick Search field and links to Browse, Advanced Search, and Keyword Search options. These are explained below.

  • Quick Search: Type in "a" couple keywords for your subject and see what comes up.
  • Browse: In the drop-down menu select the index you want to search.  For example, if you have a book title and want to find out if LC has a copy, select the TITLES beginning with index and type in your book title. To search on any of the Library of Congress Subject Headings suggested in this bibliography, select the SUBJECTS beginning with index field and enter the subject heading.
  • Advanced Search: This gives you several search fields and multiple options that can be combined to create a complex search.
  • Keyword Search: Most useful for the Expert option where you can put a phrase in quotes.

Each of the search options has detailed search tips below the search boxes.

For more help on searching see:


Two figures in classical attire framing a view of the earth and the moon.
Image: The Earth with the Milky Way and Moon by Wladyslaw Theodore Benda (1918?). From the Cabinet of American Illustration, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Compiled/Updated June 2015
Margaret Clifton and Jennifer Harbster

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