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Selected Teaching Aids: Astronomy for Schools



Introduction of the attractive subject of astronomy to secondary curricula has been proven as a successful and felicitous method of interesting students in science and scientific careers. Teaching materials included in this bibliography emphasize an observational and "hands-on" approach to creating a new awareness of our universe. These sources, some for teachers and others for students, can be used to develop courses, units, or concepts to stimulate learning. Individual and class projects range from instructive visual activities to the construction of telescopes. The history and rich mythology of astronomy are included as proven incentives, as are corollary subjects in meteorology. Nearly all of the sources represented by main entries were in print (some in reprint editions) when this guide was prepared.



Chaisson, Eric, and S. McMillan. Astronomy today. Instructor's ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall, c1993. 1 v. (various pagings)
   QB43.2.C44 1993b
   A university text for students who will probably not major in astronomy or physics; very adaptable to secondary instruction. This edition has a 90-page teachers' introduction with valuable ideas about conducting the course.

Claiborne, Robert. The summer stargazer: astronomy for absolute beginners. New York, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, c1975. 222 p.
   Out of print, but still one of the very best guides for the novice.

Dunlop, Storm. Astronomy: a step-by-step guide to the night sky. New York, Collier Books, 1985. 192 p. (Macmillan field guides)
   QB63.D92 1985
   Similar to, but somewhat more advanced than, Muirden's Astronomy handbook (see below).

Hamburg, Michael. Astronomy made simple. Based on the original ed. by Meir H. Degani. 4th ed. New York, Doubleday, 1993. 237 p.
   QB45.H28 1993
   Suitable for younger students.

Jobb, Jamie. The night sky book: an everyday guide to every night. Boston, Little, Brown, c1977. 127 p.
   An elementary introduction with projects.

Moch, Dinah L. Astronomy: a self-teaching guide. 5th ed. New York, Wiley, c2000. 342 p.
   QB45.M723 2000
   In workbook format, suitable for high schools.

Muirden, James. Astronomy handbook. New York, Arco Pub., c1982. 189 p.
   QB64.M855 1982
   A "first book" for junior high level and upwards; includes projects.

Pasachoff, Jay M. Field guide to the stars and planets. 4th ed. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 2000. 578 p.
   QB64.P37 2000
   A handy guide for those with a little experience, but not as easy or pleasant to use as the classic field guide on this level, by William T. Olcott and Edmund W. Putnam, Field book of the skies, first published in 1929 and later revised, finally by R. Newton Mayall and Margaret W. Mayall, now out of print but available in many school libraries.

Peltier, Leslie C. Leslie Peltier's guide to the stars. Milwaukee, AstroMedia; Cambridge, Eng., Cambridge University Press, c1986. 185 p.
   QB63.P43 1986
   Observing with naked eye and binoculars; suitable for all secondary levels.

The skywatcher's handbook: night and day, what to look for in the heavens above. Consultant editor, Colin A. Ronan. New York, Crown Publishers, c1985. 224 p.
   QB64.S58 1985
   Astronomical and meteorological observations; the sky around the clock.



Bone, Neil. Observing meteors, comets, supernovae, and other transient phenomena. London, Eng., Springer, c1999. 198 p.
   QB63.B66 1999
   Meteor watching, especially during periodic "showers," as an easy and rewarding pursuit.

Covington, Michael A. Astrophotography for the amateur. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1999. 331 p.
   QB121.C68 1999
   What can be accomplished at various levels of astrophotography, with and without a telescope.

Darling, David J. Could you ever meet an alien? Minneapolis, Minn., Dillon Press, c1990. 58 p.
   QB54.D36 1990
   An elementary introduction to the search for extraterrestrial life.

Fulton, Ken. The light-hearted astronomer. Milwaukee, Wis., AstroMedia Corp., 1984. 115 p.
   QB63.F86 1984
   An entertaining caveat to the novice about the pitfalls of steering a beginning course and choosing equipment. A "must" before purchasing a first telescope; see also Harrington, Star ware, below.

Greenler, Robert. Rainbows, halos, and glories. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1980. 195 p.
   A congenial guide to these phenomena, with much information about other meteorological subjects; see Meinel, Sunsets, twilights, and evening skies, below.

Harrington, Philip S. Star ware: the amateur astronomer's ultimate guide to choosing, buying, and using telescopes and accessories. 2nd ed. New York, Wiley, c1998. 376 p.
   QB88.H37 1998
   To be consulted with Fulton, The light-hearted astronomer (see above) before selecting astronomical equipment.

Harrington, Philip S. Touring the universe through binoculars: a complete astronomer's guidebook. New York, Wiley, c1990. 294 p.
   QB64.H37 1990
   Much can be seen with binoculars of various powers.
   More advanced than Moore, Exploring the night sky with binoculars (see below); contains extensive information about suitable objects, but lacks locating diagrams such as Moore's and must be used with an atlas.

International Astronomical Union. Colloquium, 105th, Williamstown, Mass., 1988. The teaching of astronomy. Proceedings. Edited by Jay M. Pasachoff, John R. Percy. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990. 445 p.
   QB61.I562 1988
   "Astronomy may well be the most appealing science to students and the general public." A collection of papers about astronomy education, discussing astronomy and culture, the teaching process, student projects, textbooks, the use of computers, teaching aids and resources, high school courses, teacher training, and the value of planetariums.

Jackson, Francis, and Patrick Moore. Life in the universe. 2nd ed. New York, W. W. Norton, 1989, c1987. 162 p.
   QB54.J23 1989
   The origins of life and possibilities of life on other worlds.

McDonough, Thomas R. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence: listening for life in the cosmos. New York, Wiley, c1987. 244 p.
   QB54.M527 1987
   A history of scientific and popular speculation, from the ancients to SETI and beyond.

Macvey, John W. Interstellar travel: past, present, and future. Chelsea, Mich., Scarborough House, 1991. 253 p.
   TL793.M19 1991
   Useful to consult for class discussions about future possibilities of space travel and the UFO controversy.

Matloff, Gregory L. The urban astronomer: a practical guide for observers in cities and suburbs. New York, Wiley, c1991. 224 p.
   QB63.M43 1991
   The author demonstrates that one can successfully observe from light polluted urban locations, but his estimate is at times conservative; for example, even the elusive planet Mercury can be seen from inner cities.

Meinel, Aden B., and Marjorie P. Meinel. Sunsets, twilights, and evening skies. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1983. 163 p.
   QC975.2.M44 1983
   Best used with Greenler, Rainbows, halos and glories (see above) as a guide to meteorological observations.

Moore, Patrick. Exploring the night sky with binoculars. 4th ed. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 2000. 213 p.
   QB63.M63 2000
   See the annotation to Harrington, Touring the universe through binoculars, above.

Motz, Lloyd, and Carol Nathanson. The constellations. New York, Doubleday, c1988. 411 p.
   QB63.M67 1988
   A detailed guide to the constellations, their stars and deep sky objects, organized by season, with much background information.

Muirden, James. The amateur astronomer's handbook. 3rd ed. New York, Harper & Row, c1983. 472 p.
   QB64.M85 1983
   A comprehensive guide for students who have read a basic introduction.

Muirden, James. How to use an astronomical telescope: a beginner's guide to observing the cosmos. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1988. 400 p.
   QB88.M85 1988
   Useful comparisons of telescope designs, with observing techniques and possibilities.

The new solar system. Edited by J. Kelly Beatty, Andrew Chaikin; introd. by Carl Sagan. 4th ed. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., 1999. 421 p.
   QB501.N47 1999
   What is known about the Sun's system after the achievements of the eighties.

Reddy, Francis, and Greg Walz-Chojnacki. Celestial delights: the best astronomical events through 2001. Berkeley, Calif., CelestialArts, c1992. 135 p.
   QB63.R33 1992
   Forthcoming attractions, from eclipses to planetary conjunctions to comets.

Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. New York, Random House, c1980. 365 p.
   Based on the popular and informative TV series, which is currently available on videocassette.

Sagan, Carl, and Ann Druyan. Comet. New York, Ballantine Books, c1997. 398 p.
   QB721.S34 1997
   A well illustrated work on comets, written for the recent return of Comet Halley.

Schaaf, Fred. The starry room: naked eye astronomy in the intimate universe. New York, Wiley, c1988. 264 p. (Wiley science editions)
   QB64.S43 1988
   Creative essays promoting a return to naked eye observation.

Silk, Joseph. The big bang. Rev. and updated ed. New York, W. H. Freeman, c1994. 246 p.
   QB981.S55 1994
   A relatively simple account of the new cosmology.

Webb, T. W. Celestial objects for common telescopes. Edited and rev. by Margaret W. Mayall. New York, Dover Publications, 1962. 2 v.
   QB64.W3 1962
   "A revised and enlarged publication of the sixth edition" that appeared in 1917. First published in 1859, "Webb" has inspired generations of observers with small instruments.



Arthur, D. W. G., A. P. Agnieray, and R. H. Pellicori. Lunar designations and positions. Quadrants I-IV. Tucson, Ariz., Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, c1964. 4 maps. 58 x 69 cm.
   "The map corresponds to a lunar sphere with a radius of 50 centimeters." Shows the moon's near side in considerable detail.

Chandler, David. The night sky, shown in dual perspective for reduced distortion. For use in the range 38■-50■ north latitude; exact for 40■. [Planisphere] Cambridge, Mass., produced in cooperation with Sky Pub. Corp., c1977.   25 x 25 cm.
   A simple and very useful two-sided "star wheel" for locating celestial objects and demonstrating their apparent movements; also available for other latitudes.

Mars globe from Viking imagery. Scale ca. 1:22, 250,000. Belmont, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., c1990. 1 globe 31 cm. in diam. + 1 sheet ([8] p.)

Norton, Arthur P. Norton's 2000.0: star atlas and reference handbook (epoch 2000.0). 18th ed., rev. under the editorship of Ian Ridpath. Harlow, Eng., Longman Scientific & Technical; New York, Wiley, 1989. 179 p.
   QB65.N7 1989
   A standard atlas and astronomer's guide, first published in 1910. The charts locate about 8,700 stars to visual magnitude 6.49 and about 600 deep sky objects.

Ottewell, Guy. Astronomical calendar. 1974+ Greenville, S.C., sponsored by the Dept. of Physics, Furman University, in cooperation with the Astronomical League. annual.
   The 1994 issue (73 p.) contains a sky chart and timetable of events for each month, data on planetary movements and other phenomena, and much background material.

Ottewell, Guy. The astronomical companion. Greenville, S.C., Ottewell, c1979. 73 p.
   Designed to be used with Ottewell's annual Astronomical calendar (see above); definitions, facts and figures.

Tirion, Wil. Sky atlas 2000.0: 26 star charts, covering both hemispheres. Deluxe ed. Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp.; Cambridge, Eng., Cambridge University Press, 1981. 2 folded p., 26 folded leaves; 26 charts.
   QB65.T54 1981 fol.
   Transparent overlay of projection grids laid in. Locates about 43,000 stars to visual magnitude 8.1 and about 2,500 deep sky objects. Also available in the form of 27 separate, flat sheets, with black stars on white background or white stars on black background.

Tirion, Wil. Wil Tirion's bright star atlas 2000.0. Richmond, Va., Willmann-Bell, 1990. 1 v. (various pagings)
   A useful paperbound "starter" atlas, suitable for easy reference in the field when naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations do not require more detailed maps. Stars visible to the optically unaided limit and many brighter deep sky objects are included.



Allen, Richard H. Star names: their lore and meaning. New York, Dover Publications, 1963. 563 p.
   QB802.A4 1963
   "An unabridged and corrected republication of the work first published ... in 1899 ...."

Ashbrook, Joseph. The astronomical scrapbook: skywatchers, pioneers and seekers in astronomy. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., 1984. 468 p.
   QB51.A77 1984
   A collection of historical and topical articles first published in Sky & telescope.

Cohen, Martin. In quest of telescopes. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., 1980. 131 p.
   What professional astronomers do; an autobiography that includes vocational guidance.

Gingerich, Owen. The great Copernicus chase and other adventures in astronomical history. Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1992. 304 p.
   QB15.G56 1992
   Astronomer and historian Gingerich's articles, collected from various periodicals.

Goldsmith, Donald. The astronomers. New York, St. Martin's Press, c1991. 332 p.
   "Companion book to the PBS television series."
   QB44.2.G63 1991
   Working scientists and current issues; the TV production is available on videocassette.

Hadingham, Evan. Early man and the cosmos. New York, Walker, 1984. 271 p.
   QB16.H3 1984
   An introduction to the relatively recent discipline of archaeoastronomy.

Krupp, E. C. Beyond the blue horizon: myths and legends of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. New York, HarperCollins, c1992. 387 p.
   BL325.S5 K78 1992
   How different cultures and civilizations have developed stories to explain the cosmos.

Levy, David H. Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of planet Pluto. Tucson, University of Arizona Press, c1991. 211 p.
   QB36.T6 L48 1991
   A biography of an American who is the only living person to have found an unknown major planet and the only investigator to do so since 1846.

Levy, David H. The quest for comets: an explosive trail of beauty and danger. New York, Plenum Press, c1994. 280 p.
   QB721.4.L48 1994
   Hunting for new comets; workers and their techniques.

Moore, Patrick. Watchers of the stars: the scientific revolution. New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974. 239 p.
   The lives and contributions of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton.
   QB29.M58 1974

Pannekoek, Anton. A history of astronomy. New York, Dover Publications, 1989, c1961. 521 p.
   The standard 20th century history.
   QB15.P28313 1989

Peltier, Leslie C. Starlight nights: the adventures of a star- gazer. New York, Harper & Row, 1965. 236 p.
   QB36.P4 A3
   The autobiography of an eminent American amateur astronomer, available as a paperback reprint from Sky Publishing Corporation.

Preston, Richard. First light. London, Eng., Corgi Books, 1998. 318 p.
   QB44.2.P74 1998
   An account of astronomers working at Palomar, with the background of figures in the construction, operation, and use of the telescopes there.

Sesti, Giuseppe M. The glorious constellations: history and mythology. New York, H. N. Abrams, 1991. 495 p.
   QB802.S4713 1991 fol.
   Translation by Karin H. Ford of Le dimore del cielo; an extensively illustrated history of ideas concerning the constellations visible in the northern hemisphere, with chapters on the development of astronomy as a science.

Sheehan, William. Worlds in the sky: planetary discovery from earliest times through Voyager and Magellan. Tucson, University of Arizona Press, c1992. 243 p.
   QB601.S543 1992
   A history of man's fascination with the solar system, written as an introduction to planetary astronomy.

Staal, Julius D. W. The new patterns in the sky: myths and legends of the stars. Blacksburg, Va., McDonald and Woodward Pub. Co., 1988. 300 p.
   QB801.7.S72 1988
   Revised edition of Patterns in the sky (1961); mythology of the constellations from many cultures, with numerous illustrations of the figures.

Stott, Carole. The Greenwich guide to astronomy in action. Cambridge, Eng., New York, Cambridge University Press, 1989. 96 p.
   QB44.2.S77 1989
   The ways in which astronomers pursue their research.

Tucker, Wallace, and Karen Tucker. The cosmic inquirers: modern telescopes and their makers. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1986. 221 p.
   QB88.T83 1986
   The conception, design, construction and use of five important contemporary telescopes.

Verdet, Jean-Pierre. The sky: mystery, magic, and myth. New York, H. N. Abrams, 1992. 199 p.
   QB52.V4513 1992
   Translation by Anthony Zielonka of Ciel, ordre et désordre; the wonders of the sky in the popular mind through history.

Willard, Berton C. Russell W. Porter: Arctic explorer, artist, telescope maker. Freeport, Me., Bond Wheelwright Co., c1976. 274 p.
   QB36.P63 W54 1976
   The life of the American founder of the amateur telescope making (ATM) movement.

Wright, Helen. Explorer of the universe: a biography of George Ellery Hale. Woodbury, N.Y., American Institute of Physics, c1994. 487 p.
   QB460.72.H35 W75 1994
   Reprint of the 1966 ed. with an introduction by Allan Sandage. Hale, an American founder of astrophysics, was also a developer of pioneering telescopes, including the 200-inch Palomar reflector, for many years the world's largest.



Apfel, Necia H. Astronomy projects for young scientists. New York, Arco Pub., c1984. 122 p.
   QB62.7.A64 1984
   Instructions for such activities as building a simple planetarium, detecting cosmic rays, and timing occultations.

Ballard, Jim. The handbook for star trackers: making and using star tracking camera platforms. Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., c1988. 124 p.
   QB63.B26 1988
   How to make platforms for guided celestial photography from simple materials.

Berry, Richard. Build your own telescope. Richmond, Va., Willmann-Bell, c1994. 276 p.
   QB88.B47 1994
   How to construct five different telescopes using readily available tools and supplies, including commercial optics.

Docekal, Eileen M. Sky detective: investigating the mysteries of space. New York, Sterling Pub. Co., 1992. 128 p.
   QB63.D55 1992
   Twelve cleverly presented detective "cases" to be solved. For junior high students.

Hemenway, Mary Kay, and R. Robert Robbins. Modern astronomy: an activities approach. 1st rev. ed. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1991. 228 p.
   QB62.7.H46 1991
   Learning the concepts of astronomy through "hands-on" lessons. Although written for a college course, the book is easily adapted to a secondary audience.

Lancaster-Brown, Peter. Skywatch: eyes-on activities for getting to know the stars, planets & galaxies. New York, Sterling, 1993. 128 p.
   QB64.L34 1993
   Projects for the naked eye, binoculars and small telescopes.

Perry, Phyllis Jean. "Exploring astronomy." In her A teacher's science companion. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., TAB Books, c1994. p. 90-103.
   Q181.P355 1994
   Simple activities such as drawing a sky map and constructing a "star box" planetarium; with a valuable bibliography of resources.

Project STAR: the universe in your hands. Harold P. Coyle, Bruce Gregory, William M. Luzader, Philip M. Sadler, Irwin I. Shapiro. Dubuque, Iowa, Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co., 1993. 384 p.
   QB61.P76 1993
   An excellent "hands-on" secondary course in astronomy, based on a series of student activities developed by Project STAR (Science Teaching through its Astronomical Roots), sponsored by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and supported by the National Science Foundation and other organizations. Information about STAR classroom materials which students can construct from kits (such as a simple Galilean telescope) can be obtained from Learning Technologies, Inc., 59 Walden St., Cambridge, Mass. 02140.

Schaaf, Fred. Seeing the deep sky: telescopic astronomy projects beyond the solar system. New York, Wiley, c1992. 206 p.
   QB64.S426 1992
   Thirty-five projects involving stars, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.

Schaaf, Fred. Seeing the sky: 100 projects, activities, and explorations in astronomy. New York, Wiley, c1990. 212 p.
   QB64.S427 1990
   A variety of ideas, chiefly promoting naked eye observations.

Schaaf, Fred. Seeing the solar system: telescopic projects, activities, and explorations in astronomy. New York, Wiley, c1991. 208 p.
   QB64.S4273 1991
   Fifty-three projects for observing the planets, Moon, Sun, comets and meteors.

Schatz, Dennis. Astronomy activity book: with star-finder wheel. New York, Little Simon, 1991. 48 p.
   "Hands-on" exercises to teach the basics of astronomy, with clever illustrations and a cutout planisphere.

Thompson, Allyn J. Making your own telescope. Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., 1947. 211 p.
   One of the most educational and rewarding class activities is grinding, polishing and testing a reflecting telescope mirror and mounting it in a simple, working scope. This classic of the amateur telescope making movement tells how; the eleventh printing is currently available.

VanCleave, Janice P. Janice VanCleave's astronomy for every kid: 101 easy experiments that really work. New York, Wiley, c1991. 229 p.
   QB46.V36 1991
   Suitable for junior high students; written by a science teacher.



Astronomy. v. 1+ Aug. 1973+ Waukesha, Wis., Kalmbach Pub. Co. monthly.
   For the less advanced reader; one of the two best selling popular astronomy magazines in the United States. For the other see Sky & telescope, below.

Odyssey. v. 1+ Jan. 1979+ Milwaukee, Wis., AstroMedia Corp. 10 no. a year.
   For young readers. Includes scientific articles and news as well as suggestions for projects, experiments, and puzzles in the field of astronomy.
   Beginning with the Dec. 1991 issue, Odyssey was taken over by Cobblestone Pub. Co. in Peterborough, N.H., with an entirely new editorial staff. It has adopted a smaller format and, in 1992, a new volume numbering.

Sky & telescope. v. 1+ Nov. 1941+ Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp. monthly.
   Some contributions are more advanced than those in Astronomy. Both periodicals have informative articles and excellent coverage of celestial events.

Sky calendar. 1969+ East Lansing, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. monthly.
   Each issue, consisting of a single sheet, provides sketches of noteworthy celestial occurrences, day by day. A simplified sky chart appears on the verso.

The universe in the classroom. no. 1+ winter 1984/85+ San Francisco, Astronomical Society of the Pacific. quarterly.
   An indispensable periodical, offered free to teachers, school librarians and administrators by Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Avenue, San Francisco, Cal., 94112.



Free, up-to-date catalogs can be obtained from Astronomical Society of the Pacific (address under Periodicals, above) and Sky Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 9111, Belmont, Mass. 02178, listing resources from many publishers. Books, maps, globes, computer software (a rapidly expanding and valuable medium for those equipped to use it), videocassettes, audiocassettes, slides, posters and other teaching aids are included. All science teachers can profit from reviews in the periodical Science books and films, published nine times per year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The periodicals Astronomy and Sky & telescope (see above) regularly include reviews and notices of books, software and other aids suitable for teaching, and have ads for many astronomy products.

With several notable exceptions, this list emphasizes recently published resources, but many earlier books, frequently found in school libraries, can be of great value. Only a few of many possible examples follow. The works of Garrett P. Serviss introduced countless novices, young and old, to the heavens; see especially Astronomy with an opera-glass (1888 and later eds.), Astronomy with the naked eye (1908), The moon, a popular treatise (1907), Pleasures of the telescope (1901), and Round the year with the stars (1910). For many years W. B. White, Seeing stars (1935) was a deservedly popular primer; its very simple constellation figures are still useful. Henry M. Neely, The star finder (1943) also has excellent introductory constellation charts, and includes one of the most easily understood explanations of apparent celestial movements ever published. A discontinued periodical, Telescope making (1978-92; 46 quarterly issues), found in larger libraries, contains valuable articles on its subject.

Compiled by Ronald S. Wilkinson
Second, revised and enlarged edition: November 1994
updated 3/1995 (MC)
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