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Selected Books

Aveni, Anthony F.
People and the Sky: Our Ancestors and the Cosmos
QB16.A87 2008
Few of us can accurately identify the stars and constellations, the phases of the moon, or the hour and position of sunrise, but our forebears had an intimate relationship with the heavens. People and the Sky explores how ancient hunters, farmers, sailors, rulers, and storytellers were all once cosmically connected. Anthony Aveni (Colgate University) explores the growing field of Archeoastronomy.
Bartusiak, Marcia
The Day We Found the Universe
QB15.B37 2009
Bartusiak (MIT) presents an account of the discovery of the modern universe in the early-20th century, detailing the contributions made by not only Edwin Hubble but also the many talented and scientists working behind the scenes, including Henrietta Leavitt, Vesto Slipher, Georges Lemâitre, Milton Humason, and Harlow Shapley.
Corfield, Richard
Lives of the Planets: A Natural History of the Solar System
QB501.C6618 2007
Lives of the Planets delves into the mythology and the knowledge humanity has built over the ages about each planet and adds the recent knowledge that planetary exploration provided.
Finkbeiner, Ann K.
The Grand and Bold Thing: An Extraordinary New Map of the Universe Ushering in a New Era of Discovery
QB465.F56 2010
This is the story of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a remarkable undertaking bringing together hundreds of astronomers and launching a new era of supercharged astronomical discovery, an era of “e-science” that has taken astronomy from the lonely mountaintop observatory to the touch of your fingertips.
Kanipe, Jeff
The Cosmic Connection: How Astronomical Events Impact Life on Earth
QB52.K26 2009
Kanipe, a noted science writer, examines the relationship between our planet and the rest of the universe, and how phenomena in outer space affect our weather systems, plant and animal life. He explains how the axis of the Earth affects our climate, how supernovas may have caused mass extinctions of species and fomented genetic mutations and how inconsistencies in solar activity impact our daily lives
Lemonick, Michael D.
The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel Revolutionized our Understanding of the Cosmos
QB35.L36 2009
Trained as a musician, amateur scientist William Herschel found international fame after discovering the planet Uranus in 1781. Though he is still best known for this finding, his partnership with his sister Caroline yielded groundbreaking work, including techniques that remain in use today.
North, John David
Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology
QB15.N67 2008
This voluminous history from the University of Chicago Press is an updated version of North's Norton's History of Astronomy and Cosmology and traces the history of astronomy from prehistoric times.
Scagell, Robin and David Frydman
Stargazing with Binoculars
QB63.S366 2008
You don't have to invest in a telescope to begin stargazing.


Journey to the Edge of the Universe
(DVD) QB44.3.J68 2008x
Uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) created from images taken by the Hubble Telescope to present a view of outer space.
The Journey to Palomar: America's First Journey into Space
(DVD) QB88.J68 2008x
George Ellery Hale's epic quest to unravel the secrets of the cosmos, culminating with the construction in the 1930s and '40s of his million-pound 'Glass Giant' of Palomar--the Hale 200-inch Telescope.
Seeing in the Dark
Seeing in the Dark
(DVD) QB43.3.S4425 2007x
A PBS documentary capturing the joys and wonders of stargazing. See also the book by Timothy Ferris: Seeing In The Dark: How Backyard Stargazers Are Probing Deep Space And Guarding Earth From Interplanetary Peril.
The Universe: Collector's Set: An Exploration of Our Solar System and Beyond
(DVD) QB500.U553 2008x
A collection of programs (14 videodiscs) examining outer space, the solar system, the orgins of the universe and the earth, and the milestones of astronomy.

Pittsburgh Region



  • Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council
    The POLC provides advice on solving the problems of glare, light trespass and skyglow caused by light pollution. The goal of the POLC is to reduce light pollution in Pennsylvania by educating the public about the safety and nuisance problems of obtrusive lighting and by recommending actions to improve outdoor lighting.

News and Calendars


General Sites

  • Amazing Space
    Amazing Space, from the Formal Education Group of the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach, uses the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe.
  • Center for Science Education
    From the University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory.
  • Discovery Channel: Space News
    Recent articles about space.
  • European Space Agency (ESA)
    The European Space Agency, with 15 member states, is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the people of Europe. The Agency’s projects are designed to find out more about the Earth, its immediate space environment, the solar system and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and promote European industries.
  • The Galileo Project
    Information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and the science of his time, from Rice University
  • Google Sky
    "Using Google Maps this tool provides an exciting way to browse and explore the universe. You can find the positions of the planets and constellations on the sky and even watching the birth of distant galaxies as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope."
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    Main page of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
    • Space Place
      NASA's website for kids with games, projects, cool subjects, amazing facts, and animations.
    A commercial multimedia website dedicated to space and space related content. Very good for getting the latest news about many astronomy topics, but written for the general public.
  • Windows to the Universe
    Answers to many questions about outer space from the University of Michigan and NASA
  • WikiSky
    You can browse the sky at this site. Read "Getting Started" to find out how.

Extraterrestrial Life - Astrobiology

  • Astrobiology Magazine
    Astrobiology Magazine is a NASA-sponsored online popular science magazine profiling the latest and most exciting news in astrobiology -- the study of life in the universe.
  • Astrobiology (NASA)
    The intended audience here is professional rather than popular.
  • SETI Institute
    The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The home for scientific research in the general field of Life in the Universe.
  • SETI@Home
    SETI@home is a scientific experiment that harnesses the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth.

Humans in Space


The Moon

  • Lunar & Planetary Institute
    Extensive source of information on past and future missions to the moon from NASA.
  • NASA: Lunar and Planetary Science
    Information on the Moon and Planets.
  • NatureNews: Apollo 40 years on
    "On 20 July 1969, NASA's Apollo programme landed a man on the Moon, less than a decade after President John F Kennedy announced the goal to Congress. On the 40th anniversary of that milestone, Nature looks at the legacy of the Apollo missions and their influence on lunar science, as well as prospects for future manned missions that could see humans once again set foot on the Moon."

The Sky


Space Telescope (Deep Space)

  • Space Telescope Science Institute
    from the Space Telescope Science Institute - more detailed information on the Hubble Space Telescope
    • Amazing Space
      Amazing Space uses the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe.

The Sun