Introduction to astronomy

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This is a digital sky survey version 2 (DSS2) image of the double star Alpha Capricorni. Credit: UK Schmidt Telescope at Anglo-Australian Observatory.

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Welcome to Introduction to Astronomy

Deep space remains one of the greatest mysteries, and our ever-present questions regarding the universe ensure that humankind continues to probe the outer limits of our knowledge. This course is being designed to help students lay a solid foundation so that they may continue their studies in more advanced topics. Everything from the creation of our universe to the surface features of Europa to the death of stars will be covered.

Within this course you will find lectures, readings (from both the General Astronomy Wikibook and Wikipedia), activities/projects, and assignments based on answering questions pertaining to the reading you have done.

This course is being developed by students of an informal astronomy class, editors and educators here at Wikiversity, and may have reached a high level of completion by December 2013. It is a dynamic (you can start using it now!) and ongoing (you can help!) developing resource.

Subject classification: this is an astronomy resource.
Educational level: this is a secondary education resource.
Educational level: this is a tertiary (university) resource.

Course Summary

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Portal:Physical Sciences

School:Physics and Astronomy

Department: Astronomy

Level: Secondary and Undergraduate

Educational level: this is a secondary education resource.
Educational level: this is a tertiary (university) resource.

Suggested Prerequisites: It is recommended that you have the following. If you have not brushed up on your skills in awhile or you are still in the learning process, you are encouraged to participate in the Wikiversity math and science resources before proceeding to more advanced study in astronomy.

Total Time Investment:

About 20 hours may be needed for all the resources.

Assessment Suggestions:

Try some of the quizzes!

Student Learning Goals

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Following the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. name the planets in order going away from the central star of the solar system in which we live,
  2. give one of the names for the central star of our solar system,
  3. name the object we live on,
  4. have an idea of what a telescope is, and
  5. know the name of our galaxy.

Learning materials and learning projects are located in the main Wikiversity namespace. Simply make a link to the name of the lesson (lessons are independent pages in the main namespace) and start writing!

You should also read about the Wikiversity:Learning model. Lessons should center on learning activities for Wikiversity participants. Learning materials and learning projects can be used by multiple projects. Cooperate with other departments that use the same learning resource.


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Wiki texts
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  1. General Astronomy
  2. Astronomy
  3. the universe
  4. Intro astronomy college course
Free texts on the internet
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  1. OpenStax Astronomy A complete college-level introductory astronomy textbook. A slighly older pdf version can be downloaded at File:Openstax_Astronomy-LR.pdf.
  2. Nick Strobel's website. Excellent, but a bit informal.
  3. Teach Astronomy by Chris Impey. Very polished.
  4. A review of the Universe The title is descriptive -- a sort of one-person Wikipedia, but without Wikipedia’s tendency to suppress unorthodoxy.
  5. College-Level Astronomy Courses A set of links to over one hundred different college-level astronomy courses.


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Additional helpful readings include:

Active Participants

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Active Participants in this course:

Active Contributors

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Active contributors to this course:

User:JessLance - Genesis Liridon

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{{Radiation astronomy resources}}