All resources in OpenStax Astronomy

Science Fiction Stories Based on Good Astronomy

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See Note at End. This is a guide to science fiction stories and novels which are based on reasonably good science (and can thus be recommended in introductory astronomy courses.) The stories are organized by astronomical topic. While most of the stories are available only in print, a number are now published electronically free of charge, and links to those are included. NOTE: An updated version of this resource can be found at:

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Case Study

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Some Useful Websites to Obtain Astronomical Images

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This updated resource suggests some of the best places on the web for astronomy instructors to obtain high-quality images for showing in class (and gives the direct URL for obtaining the photos). It includes general sources, such as the Hubble image gallery and NASA’s Planetary Photojournal, as well as more specific sources for a particular observatory or wavelength range.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Current Event in Astronomy

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In an effort to raise awareness of astronomical developments, I have students search newspapers or online for any recent astronomical-related story and provide a photo and a short summary of the article including why they think it is important and I ask them to identify specially which chapter of the textbook deals with their story. I do this early in the semester as a way of getting students to become more familiar with the textbook and to try to get them to become lifelong learners and be in the habit of looking for current events related to astronomy.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Erik Christensen

OpenStax Astronomy Slide Presentations in pdf form

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The slideshows that go with OpenStax Astronomy are PowerPoint, which is great for editing and improving, but a bit awkward for instructors who need to load MS PowerPoint in order to present. I used the cc-by license to place them on Wikiversity. I also invite others to collaborate on developing OpenStax materials on Wikiversity and/or Miraheze.

Material Type: Lecture, Lecture Notes, Student Guide

Author: The authors of OpenStax Astronomy


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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

OpenStax Lecture Slides

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These are a set of lecture slide that I have created for the OpenStax astronomy textbook. For each chapter, there are between 2 and 4 sets of slides broken down into topics following the flow of the chapter. In each case, the slides come in three formats: Keynote, PowerPoint and pdf. Note that the slides were created using Keynote so there may be some minor formatting issues in the PowerPoint versions. Please feel free to use/modify any of these as you find useful for your classes.

Material Type: Lecture Notes

Author: Robert Wagner

Some Plays (and Films) about Astronomers

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This is a first attempt at making an annotated list of plays and films that are specifically about astronomers. No claim is made for completeness and additional suggestions are most welcome. I don't list operas here. A list of astronomy operas is included in my topical listing of music inspired by astronomy at:

Material Type: Homework/Assignment, Reading, Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

A Catalog of 250+ Pieces of Music Inspired by Serious Astronomy

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This new annotated guide (part of a series devoted to resources for enjoying or teaching astronomy) features over 250 pieces of music inspired by serious astronomy, including both classical and popular music examples. YouTube links are given for the vast majority, so you (or your students) can listen to them. Among the pieces included is: 1) a Hubble Space Telescope cantata, 2) eight rock songs about black holes with reasonable science, 3) a supernova piano sonata, 4) a musical exploration of the Messier catalog of nebulae, clusters, and galaxies, 5) a moving song about Stephen Hawking, 6) Moon songs by the Grateful Dead, George Harrison, and the Police, 7) piano pieces “for children with small hands” named after the constellations, 8) operas about Galileo, Kepler, and Einstein, and many more.

Material Type: Module

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Foothill College AstroSims

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The Foothill College AstroSims project is ensuring continued access to astro-education simulations past the deprecation of Java and Flash. This site includes: * re-implementations in HTML5/Javascript of existing astro-education simulations, * new simulations of previously unaddressed topics, and * a frequently updated list of astro-education simulations.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive, Simulation

Authors: Andrew Tran, Baba Kofi Weusijana, Chris Achenbach, Geoffrey Mathews, Safi Mohammed

Short Astronomy Videos to Use with Each Chapter of OpenStax Astronomy

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This listing includes a wide range of short videos (15 minutes or less) that can be used in introductory astronomy courses.  It is organized by the chapter topics in the OpenStax Astronomy textbook.  We don’t include simulations.  To suggest other video that you have found particularly useful for Astro 101 courses, please drop a line to the compiler at:

Material Type: Lesson, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Free On-line Lab Activities for Astro 101

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This annotated index includes a wide range of free, online labs appropriate for Astro 101 courses, organized by chapter of the OpenStax Astronomy textbook. So, you can look up free labs on Kepler's Laws, H-R diagram, the Drake Equation, and many other topics in introductory astronomy. These lab activities have been put on line by universities, NASA and NSF sponsored projects, and instructors who want to share their labs with colleagues. If we have missed any labs that are available free online, please suggest additions by emailing

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Module, Unit of Study

Author: Andrew Fraknoi

Activities for Solar System Astronomy

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These activities cover topics in Solar System Astronomy, aligned with the OpenStax Astronomy textbook. Topics cover chapters 1-5, 6-13, and sections of 14 and 21 covering exoplanets. 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:

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

Authors: Andrea Goering, Richard Wagner