Annular Eclipse 2005

Geology 105
Introduction to Astronomy

Timothy McDonnell - Instructor

Horsehead Nebula

Astronomy Puts the Universe at Your Fingertips!

Astronomy Home


Practice section

Concept of the Week

What's New

Websites for Upcoming Units:


Astronomy Workshop
Astronomy Workshop:

This website covers a variety of topics, but it is especially good with the Solar System. You can determine positions for planets well into the future. You can even design your own Solar System!


Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Perhaps the best archive of photographs from space, including the Solar System and beyond....way beyond!

Universe Today
Universe Today

This is a great place to find out what is happening in space exploration and other developments in the science of astronomy.

The Universe Beyond the Solar System

Electronic Sky
The Electronic Sky:
This site is an encyclopedia about stars, clusters, galaxies, and other deep space objects.

The Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way
Windows to our Universe
This is a nice, easy to navigate website with information about our home galaxy (and other places too!).

To see some interesting (and very artsie) animations of colliding galaxies, try out this website from the University of Toronto.

History of the Universe
This is a great site to learn about Cosomology, with a tour through the Big Bang. It also introduces String Theory.

Even More Animations!
from Norton Earth Science Animations
A wide variety of simple but well-designed animations for astronomy, geography, and other related topics.

Links to Other
Astronomy Websites

The following links may help you understand difficult concepts in astronomy that are not well-explained by your textbook. They will be updated frequently to keep up with the topics of study. 
This website from W. H. Freeman has some great animations on a variety of topics relating to astronomy, from the celestial sphere to planets to the Big Bang Theory.
Great resource for student presentations!


Science NASA     Science at NASA: Updates on NASA Missions with some great graphics! It also links to some other interesting sites.


is a project out of UC Sand Diego that uses the International Space Station as a digital camera. Hundreds of images of Earth are downloadable here.


Scales has a very good webpage on using scales from tiny quarks to the edges of the universe. Great resource if you're not sure you understand powers of ten.

Earth Seasons

Earth's Seasons: Very cool animations showing how a change in the Earth's tilt would change the seasons and the length of daylight.

Earth-Moon Viewer: Another good graphic site! This one lets you see both the Earth and Moon from many different perspectives and time frames.

Polaris and the Sun: This simple website shows the positions of the Sun and Polaris from all latitudes. A good place to refresh your memory about the seasonal changes in the sky.

More Animations: Nice animations that show the motions of the earth, moon, and planets (including retrograde motion).

Moon Phases Inconsistent Moon: A good source on any topic relating to the Earth's only natural satellite. Good discussion of the moon's phases. Photography is excellent, too. Make sure you visit the Cyclopedia page.

NASA Eclipse NASA Eclipse: This is one of many useful sites produced by NASA. You can find out the times and locations for eclipses for the rest of your lifetime here. When will we see a total solar eclipse in Rochester?

The US Naval Observatory is the best place to get data such as sunrise/sunset, moon phases, altitude of sun in the sky. You can get data easiest from the United States and our territories, but other locations are possible if you know their latitude/longitude coordinates.

Ohio State

This website from Ohio State University has some great animations about motion in the Solar System. Check out the phases of the Earth as seen from the Moon. The retrograde motion of Mars is good too!

And More Animations from the Hayden Planetarium....

This is a great place to see revolving planets, storm clouds on Jupiter, and much more! It also links to animations from stars, galaxies, and beyond! Visit the Hayden Planetarium Astrophysics Visualization Archive.

Planets appear to go "backwards," which is a tricky concept to explain. In the Copernican heliocentric model of the Solar System, the backward apparent motion is caused by the Earth passing a slower planet (or Venus or Mercury passing us). This little animation for the University of Illinois shows retrograde motion well.

Asteroid This website from NASA has a wealth of information about asteroids and comets that cross the Earth's orbit.
Of special interest is the Orbit Diagrams link. You can choose from a long list of near earth objects, and follow their orbits as well as the inner planets.

Solar Physics OUR SUN:
This is another good website from NASA about Solar Physics. It gives you statistics about the Sun and a link to a couple dozen other pages about different aspects about the only star in our neck of the galaxy. (They are found in the blue border on the left).

Sunspots: This website for the Solar Influence Data analysis Center (SIDC) in Belgium has all kinds of data about solar storms and sunspots. They usually have up-to-date images of the sun showing solar activity.

The Evolution of Our Sun: a nice simple Flash animation showing how the sun was born and how it will eventually die, all on the background of an H-R Diagram.

BINARY STARS: Over half the known stars are in binary pairs, and many are in multiple systems. Binaries are important because they tell us the mass of stars. You need gravitation pull to use Newton's Laws to determine stellar mass. Here are some good sites to see the three kinds of binary systems in motion:
Binary Orbits
This is also a good source for other good animations (hydrogen fusion, evolution of stars, etc.)

Click on one of the links below to find out more about
Introduction to Astronomy:





What's New

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Concept of the Week
What's New
in Astronomy


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