Astronomy and Space Science

Latest Updates - May 29, 2020

  • Join Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson while he discusses astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the Universe. Science meets pop culture on the StarTalk Radio podast!

Institute of Science Developed Resources

  • Download and learn how to use star charts designed specifically for southeastern Michigan, or planispheres you can use from anywhere in the world. 
  • Take a peek behind the scenes of the Astronomy Department at Cranbrook's Insitute of Science. 
  • Tour the recently renovated Cranbrook Observatory.

External Resources We Like

  • The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s “Air and Space Anywhere” website offers a variety of science activities and stories relating to aviation and astronomy. Listen to a podcast, go on a virtual tour, or play a fun space game!
  • Subscribe to NASA EXPRESS, NASA’s weekly email newsletter highlighting at-home activities to inspire learning and exploration. Click the sign up link to receive new newsletters in your inbox or peruse the latest EXPRESS.
  • SLOOH is an online, virtual observatory that allows you to see the wonders of the universe on your computer.
  • If you're looking for a long list of activities related to astronomy for children K-5, check out education.com.
  • NASA has downloadable and printable maps of our moon.
  • On NASA’s Learning Space Page you can find instructions for making things like rockets, Mars rovers and Moon landers out of materials you have at home.
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute provides programs, workshops, field trips, and products available in a searchable directory which include activities, exhibits, spectrometers, PowerPoints, recommended websites, and more.
  • The Solar Data Analysis Center serves data from recent and current space-based solar-physics missions, funds and hosts much of the SolarSoft library, and leads the Virtual Solar Observatory (VSO) effort.
  • Explore the beautiful images the Hubble Space Telescope has taken over the years.
  • A comprehensive daily update of all things in space news.
  • A major database with informative graphics of where/when to look for all night sky, natural or human-made, objects
  • Planet Sizes allows students examine the relative sizes of the planets using fruits and vegetables to represent the different planets, draw the solar system, and review some key facts. Then they examine cutouts of the planets, identify each one, and place them in the correct sequence.
  • Planet Distances allows students consider the most appropriate scale to use for a model of planetary distances. Students then go outside and place the “planets” in their respective orbits. Once all markers are placed, Students walk through the model, stopping at each marker to discuss the planet.
  • Solar System on a Map allows students apply their understanding of distance and use a map of their area to plot the scaled locations of the planets relative to their home.
  • Time Lineup: Evolution of Our Solar System allows students ages 12–17 work in groups or as a class to determine the order of events that formed our solar system. This is an excellent activity to begin discussion of events that shaped the solar system and how Earth's geosphere and biosphere have changed — in an interrelated manner — through time. 
  • Background on Our Solar System is information on the formation and members of our Solar System.  For teachers and informal educators, this information would also be appropriate for students grades 7 and up.  
  • Videos on the Solar System is recommended videos on the Solar System, geared for a wide range of ages. 
  • Books on the Solar System is recommended books with stories and information on our Solar System for a wide range of ages.
  • Web sites on our Solar System is recommended sites with information, images, and activities on our Solar System for a wide range of ages. 
  • The Solar System in 3-D  is a s study of geology, atmospheres, and other structures using stereo imagery of the planets, their satellites, and the Sun.  Images can be downloaded and used for free for educational purposes; also available as a slide set, which includes a pair of 3-D glasses. Images are accompanied by detailed information written at a high school to college level. 40 images.
  • A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System, third edition is a view of the principal distinctive features of each planet and its natural satellites. This is the third edition, revised in 2002. Images can be downloaded and used for free for educational purposes; also available as a slide set.  Images are accompanied by detailed information written at a high school to college level.  40 images.
  • Solar System Image Galleries is a list of all of the image sets available from the Lunar and Planetary Institute; each set contains downloadable images; sets are also available for purchase as slide sets.
  • Planetary Images Web sites are links to many different NASA image sites of the planets.
  • Amazing Space uses the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe.
  • NASA has a webpage full of astronomy-related activities specifically meant for students in grades K – 4 (as well as resources for educators and parents).
  • Discover which star’s light began its journey to Earth the year you were born. Find your Birthday Star with this online chart!