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Studying Astronomy At Home

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Hi Folks,

I was distressed by seeing a post recently that some folks did not have access to an open university (community college for us in the States) astronomy course in your area. As a teacher, the idea that people want to learn but don't have access to education drives me a little nuts.

For what it's worth, this is my 'almost cheap-as-free' solution. I have gathered a large packet of materials that goes along with the text we use in school. Worksheets and study guides, labs and astronomy activities for small telescope and bins that are keyed to the season (or at least to the semester!). There are even quite a few 'tabletop' or 'internet' activities for those cloudy nights when you can't use your scope. In fact, you get just about everything except the old duffer out-gassing in the front of the classroom - and that may be the best part of the deal for some! ;)

You don't have to have a lot of experience, or anything fancy along the way of equipment. Anything from a 7x50 bins, an 80mm refractor, or 130mm reflector on up will be fine. Everything is written with the first timer in mind.

The one thing it doesn't include is the book - I use Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier by J. Fix, 6th ed.; and all the lessons and the syllabus are based upon it. The book is quite popular, and the 5th and 4th editions are available used for a very reasonable price on Amazon and other sites (often less than $25). I used to use my own book, (Observational Astronomy), but alas, it isn't in print any more, and it never had all the nifty color pictures or free on-line resources that the more modern book has.

Several others have had this mega-packet from me, perhaps they will post a comment or two - nothing like an unbiased consumer review, eh? :o If you are interested, please PM me with a regular email address, at 2.6MB (compressed) - it's far too large to post here for downloading.

If there are other science teachers out there, or if you know of a science teacher who could benefit from this; you are most strongly encouraged to contact me. I have helped many teachers here in the states, and more every day in Gr. Britain, set up their own astronomy programs in local schools - everything from a short astronomy unit for younger kids, through to full on high school and college courses.

Clear skies to you all,


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I've just received Dan's coursework (thank you Dan) and although I've only had a quick 'flick' through it so far, I'm suitably impressed.

I've completed the OU Introducing Astronomy couse before, but cannot justify spending the couple of hundred pounds needed per module to go any further witha a young family. I think Dan's course is superiour to the OU course and free.

I can't wait to get started!

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