Stars and Deep Space

Text in quotes and italics are direct from the sites 


An excellent site by Dr. James Kaler, astronomer and author at the University of Illinois. Stars gives a description of a new star each week. the description includes lore, physical properties, and what about it might be astrophysically interesting. The old stars of the week are kept and compiled, ordered both by star name and by constellation. Each star is linked to a photograph and description of its constellation.

No curriculum, but excellent information for the student or teacher.

The Nature of Stars,

Also by James Kaler. A linked elementary description of stars and their lives. It is cross-linked to Spectra.

Amazing Space - Space Telescope Science Institute

"Amazing Space is a set of web-based activities primarily designed for classroom use, but made available for all to enjoy."

JAVA is necessary here, and a fast connection very helpful. As with all NASA and government sites it can be slow at times.  A section for teachers (see below) and a section for the public with interactive activities. Recently redesigned and expanded. (4/03)

Current teacher resources:

Black holes  |   Comets  |  Electromagnetic spectrum / Light and color  |  Galaxies  |  Gravity  |  Hubble Space Telescope  |  Math: Statistics  |  Solar system  |  Stars and stellar evolution

"NOTE: Clicking on any resource title on this page will take you to an individual overview page, which includes a link to the chosen resource."

NASA's Observatorium

"NASA's Observatorium is a public access site for Earth and space data. We have pictures of the Earth, planets, stars, and other cool stuff, as well as the stories behind those images." This site includes teachers guides on how to use the site in the classroom. "A teacher's guide has been developed to accompany each article in the Observatorium. These guides are very basic, providing teachers with a start in the right direction. We encourage educators to print the guides and use them in the classroom or at home. Happy teaching!"

Digitized Sky Survey

Digitized maps of the sky from the Palomar plates.  Use for research and star identification. For actual sky photos see STScI below.

The STScI Digitized Sky Survey

This site contains scans of the Palomar sky survey plates.  Any area of the sky can be called up and displayed.  These are actual photographs of the sky.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

"This website presents data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a project to make a map of the entire universe. We would like to show you the beauty of the universe, and let you share our excitement as we build the largest map in the history of the world."

If you like the actual sky pictures from the Palomar Plates you'll love this one.  It's in color!  Here you can search, with one of the easy to use interfaces ( ), any part of the photographed sky and get information on selected items.  The education section is still under construction (12/01), but has enough to get you started.  Lots of information about astronomy and online projects for students of any age.  Creative teachers will figure out even more to do with these nice color pictures of the sky.

For a tour of the facility go here

Sky View

"SkyView is a Virtual Observatory on the Net generating images of any part of the sky at wavelengths in all regimes from Radio to Gamma-Ray. " See for explanation of what is available on this site.  This is a good reference site for students (and astronomers) wishing to do research. 

Project CLEA 

Radio Astronomy of Pulsars

The Classification of Stellar Spectra

Photoelectric Photometry of the Pleiades

Eclipsing Binaries

Blossoms of Science


This automated camera takes a series of images of a swath of sky every night.  These images can be used by students to investigate the night sky over a period of time when facilities to do so are not otherwise available. Also check this related site

Observers handbook - bright stars

Information on bright stars.

Digital Demo Room

Create your own movies of stellar evolution on the H-R diagram.

Stellar Spectra

Sloan Digital Sky Survey 

Has lessons on spectra.


Gives an illustrated beginner's description of spectra and how they are used to find stellar properties. Kaler again!

Fujii Bisei Observatory, Japan

This observatory has archived a set of observational spectra in digital trace format,  in .gif files.  Pick a constellation and a star form that constellation and get a spectra.  Great for analysis.  Also spectra of other things.  Good resource.


R-Spec Software and grating for spectrography.  Use with your CCD or webcam.  Haven't tried it, but looks good.  (Not free.)  Would be a great educational tool.

Spectroscopy Net

This is the Educational section of Spectroscopy Net .  Part of this site is the Workshop where you learn about spectroscopy.  It's a little math heavy.

Project Lite 

"'Project LITE: Light Inquiry Through Experiments' is a software, curriculum and materials development project located in the Science and Mathematics Education Center at Boston University."

An Introduction to Spectra

"The ACUMEN Project is an initiative to develop free computer-based classroom curriculum materials for High School and College level Astronomy classes."

From Florida Gulf Coast University. Nice software for learning about spectra.  The lesson is built into the software.

Squiggly Lines

"The purpose of this educational Web site is to make the concepts of light and astronomical spectroscopy understandable at a middle school to high school level. We also discuss a wide range of issues related to spectroscopy, such as the basics of light, the electromagnetic spectrum, atmospheric transmission, and the devices that are used to make measurements of astronomical spectra."


Specific Star Types

Eclipsing Binary Stars

Information, articles, & software all related to binary star systems.

The Sounds of  Pulsars

Pulsar sounds recorded by some of the largest radio telescopes in the world.  Also a little information on these stars. And an extensive tutorial on Pulsars:

Variable Stars AAVSO

AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers)  Is THE variable star organization in the US.  They have good educational materials and is worth a look. Also check their Hands-On Astrophysics page:

Center for Backyard Astrophysics - Cataclysmic Variables

Much information about this specific type of variable.  This organization collects data from armature astronomers around the world and makes it available to anyone. If you have a telescope and a CCD camera you too, or your students, can add to the science of this type of star.


Learning the sky

This site is incomplete (1/05) but has a nice start on learning to find your way around the night sky.

Star Lore

Interesting site.  Still under construction.  Constellations, Messier objects, galaxies, lots of stuff to look at.

The Constellations

Information about all 88 constellations, the stars and deep space objects. No educational help (lessons, etc.)

"All kinds of information relating to the 88 constellations.

First the Greek myths of each constellation (or rather, of those constellations which have a myth). Then lots of data on many of the stars themselves, such as their visual magnitude, distance, and so on.

Finally, interesting items for study, such as binaries or variable stars, or deep sky objects."

The Constellations and their Stars

Much better than "The Constellations" web page. Includes descriptions, myths, and charts. There are no lessons here and is best used as a reference source.

Native American Astronomy 

Concentrates on the Lakota star mythology. General constellation information, Lakota star lore, sky maps, teacher's guide. 

Also try these: Windows to the Universe, Stargazer, Native American Lore Index Page.

The Dome of the Sky

Online Planetarium. "View the stars from different latitudes north and south. Learn the star names and the constellations!" Clickable star map. Can be shown with or without outlines.

Star Charts and Moon Stations

Japanese star charts.

MWO Online Star Map

Creates custom star maps for any location, time, and date. From the Mount Wilson Observatory.

Postscript compatibility required.


Classifying Galaxies

An Interactive Lesson on the Hubble System of Classifying Galaxies.  Intended for grade levels 5 - 9.  There is a student section and a teacher's section for this on-line lesson.

Virgo Cluster map

This is not an education page, but is part of a web site maintained by astrophotographer Jan Wisniewski.  I've included this page because it has a nice map of the Virgo Cluster that is click-able for info and pictures of many of the Virgo galaxies.

The Coma Cluster Chart

A finder chart for the Coma Cluster of galaxies.

SEDS Galaxy page

This is a page (leading to other pages) about galaxies.  A good resource about galaxies of all types. This page maintained by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS).

Arp's Catalog Of Peculiar Galaxies

"This page summarizes the catalog of 338 peculiar galaxy views gathered by Dr. Halton C. Arp in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. The catalog is a selection of unusual or peculiar galaxies, interacting pairs or larger groups. Arp compiled the list with photographs from the Palomar 200-inch telescope in 1966."

A great resource for images and information on galaxies that do not fit the Hubble classification scheme. Go here directly to the images link page.

The Galaxy Catalog  

"This Galaxy Catalog is a collection of digital images of 113 nearby galaxies. Images taken in several passbands and a color-composite image are included for each galaxy."  An image source for a limited number of galaxies. Could be useful in a galaxy classification exercise.

CCD Catalog of Galaxies 

A collection of wide-field images of galaxies.  The lists are categorized by R.A. and give location, magnitude, size, type, and constellation.  The images are small and probably not very useful, but the lists are helpful in finding NGC numbers of galaxies and types so that you can get images and further information from data bases such as SIMBAD.  See other databases HERE.

Bill Keel's Lecture notes

Lucky us.  Bill Keel shares his lecture notes on galaxies.  Take a course in galaxies without the expense or the tests!

The Milky Way and Other Galaxies

"This set of notes by Nick Strobel covers: the structure of our Galaxy, the characteristics of other galaxies and finding distances to other galaxies. Most of these notes will be in outline form to aid in distinguishing various concepts."

Another set of lecture notes. Nick Strobel has quite a few lecture notes on the web.  Thanks for sharing Nick!


View the Milky Way in multiple wavelengths.  Zoom in, zoom out, move around.


Nice collection of color galaxy images.  Clicking on an image thumnail will give you a larger image with a discription.

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copyright 1998, 2006, j.o. rienhardt