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High School Astronomy Class Text?

  1. Mar 14, 2013 #1
    I am a high school physics teacher looking to teach an astronomy class for juniors and seniors next year. I was wondering if there are any stand out texts for this. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2013 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Here's a couple of possibilities -


    Explorations: An Introduction to Astronomy, 7/e
    Thomas T. Arny, University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Emeritus
    Stephen E. Schneider, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Chapter 1: The Cycles of the Sky
    Chapter 2: The Rise of Astronomy
    Chapter 3: Gravity and Motion
    Chapter 4: Light and Atoms
    Chapter 5: Telescopes
    Chapter 6: The Earth
    Chapter 7: The Moon
    Chapter 8: Survey of Solar Systems
    Chapter 9: The Terrestrial Planets
    Chapter 10: The Outer Planets
    Chapter 11: Small Bodies Orbiting the Sun
    Chapter 12: The Sun, Our Star
    Chapter 13: Measuring the Properties of Stars
    Chapter 14: Stellar Evolution
    Chapter 15: Stellar Remnants: White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes
    Chapter 16: The Milky Way Galaxy
    Chapter 17: Galaxies
    Chapter 18: Cosmology




    Discovering the Essential Universe
    by Neil F. Comins

    Chapter 1: Discovering the Night Sky
    Chapter 2: Gravitation and the Motion of Planets
    Chapter 3: Light and Telescopes
    Chapter 4: Earth and Moon
    Chapter 5: The Other Planets and Moons
    Chapter 6: Vagabonds of the Solar System
    Chapter 7: The Sun: Our Extraordinary Star
    Chapter 8: Characterizing Stars
    Chapter 9: The Lives of Stars from Birth Through Middle Age
    Chapter 10: The Deaths of Stars
    Chapter 11: The Galaxies
    Chapter 12: Cosmology
    Chapter 13: Astrobiology




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    MIT - http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-282j-introduction-to-astronomy-spring-2006/index.htm

    The Solar System

    Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/ recommends
    TEXTBOOKS: "Astronomy: From the Earth to the Universe" (Sixth Edition),
    by Jay M. Pasachoff

    Online Journey Through Astronomy: The Solar System by Michael Guidry, Margaret Riedinger and Frank Edward Barnes (Student Companion by Kevin Lee)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Mar 17, 2013 #3
    Thanks, I had read in an astronomy education article that Astronomy Today by Chaisson was the most popular...but looking through it I was a little unsure. I'll order those through my library and take a look, they were also in the article I saw.

    I really wish I could find one with a daytime, observational focus. Stuff like calculating latitude and longitude using the sun and so forth. Maybe I just need an amateur guidebook or something.
  5. Mar 17, 2013 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Certainly learning about time and date, latitude and longitude, in conjunction with declination (dec. or decl.) and right ascension (RA) are important in observational astronomy, along with relative and absolute magnitude.

    Looking at Chaisson and McMillan, it's probably closer to Arny's.

    Astronomy Today (7th Edition) [Hardcover]

    The single volume would be done in a two semester course at university.


    With Astronomy Today, Seventh Edition, trusted authors Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan communicate their excitement about astronomy and awaken you to the universe around you. The text emphasizes critical thinking and visualization, and it focuses on the process of scientific discovery, making “how we know what we know” an integral part of the text. The revised edition has been thoroughly updated with the latest astronomical discoveries and theories, and it has been streamlined to keep you focused on the essentials and to develop an understanding of the “big picture.”

    Alternate Versions

    •Astronomy Today, Volume 1: The Solar System, Seventh Edition—Focuses primarily on planetary coverage for a 1-term course. Includes Chapters 1-16, 28.
    •Astronomy Today, Volume 2: Stars and Galaxies, Seventh Edition—Focuses primarily on stars and stellar evolution for a 1-term course. Includes Chapters 1-5 and 16-28.

    Table of Contents

    1. Charting the Heavens: The Foundations of Astronomy
    2. The Copernican Revolution: The Birth of Modern Science
    3. Radiation: Information from the Cosmos
    4. Spectroscopy: The Inner Workings of Atoms
    5. Telescopes: The Tools of Astronomy

    6. The Solar System: An Introduction to Comparative Planetology
    7. Earth: Our Home in Space
    8. The Moon and Mercury: Scorched and Battered Worlds
    9. Venus: Earth’s Sister Planet
    10. Mars: A Near Miss for Life?
    11. Jupiter: Giant of the Solar System
    12. Saturn: Spectacular Rings and Mysterious Moons
    13. Uranus and Neptune: The Outer Worlds of the Solar System
    14. Solar System Debris: Keys to Our Origin
    15. The Formation of Planetary Systems: The Solar System and Beyond

    16. The Sun: Our Parent Star
    17. The Stars: Giants, Dwarfs, and the Main Sequence
    18. The Interstellar Medium: Gas and Dust among the Stars
    19. Star Formation: A Traumatic Birth
    20. Stellar Evolution: The Life and Death of a Star
    21. Stellar Explosions: Novae, Supernovae, and the Formation of the Elements
    22. Neutron Stars and Black Holes: Strange States of Matter

    23. The Milky Way Galaxy: A Spiral in Space
    24. Galaxies: Building Blocks of the Universe
    25. Galaxies and Dark Matter: The Large-Scale Structure of the Cosmos
    26. Cosmology: The Big Bang and the Fate of the Universe
    27. The Early Universe: Toward the Beginning of Time
    28. Life in the Universe: Are We Alone?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Mar 31, 2013 #5
    Thanks, after looking through a few texts (Arny, Seeds, Comins, Bennett, Chaisson) I think Arny will be best for high school. I appreciate the mathematical development compared to some others. I am also going to use Project Star for hands-on activities.
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