New Resources about Astronomy and Space Science – Andrew Fraknoi

Andrew Fraknoi (“The AstroProf“)  at Foothill College distributed this list of astronomy and space science resources:

1.  Talks by Noted Astronomers Now on YouTube

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, featuring astronomers giving nontechnical lectures on recent developments in astronomy, are now available on their own YouTube Channel, at

The talks include:

  • Sandra Faber on galaxy formation,
  • Michael Brown on his discovery of Eris and the “demotion” of Pluto,
  • Alex Filippenko and Leonard Susskind on black holes,
  • Natalie Batalha on the latest discoveries from the Kepler mission,
  • Frank Drake on his modern view of the Drake Equation,
  • Gibor Basri on brown dwarfs and unattached planets,
  • Anthony Aguirre on multiple universes, and
  • Chris McKay updating the Cassini discoveries about Saturn’s moon Titan.

The lectures are taped at Foothill College near San Francisco, and co-sponsored by NASA’s Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

2. Resource Guide for Teaching about Extrasolar Planets

A new annotated guide to written, web, and audio-visual resources for teaching or learning about planets orbiting other stars is now available.  Materials in the guide to this rapidly-changing branch of astronomy include video and audio files of lectures and interviews with leading scientists in the field, phone and tablet apps, a citizen-science web site, popular-level books and articles, and more.

Published by the NASA Astrophysics Education and Outreach Forum and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the guide can be found as a PDF file at:

3. Resource Guides on Music and on Apps

An annotated guide presenting 133 pieces of music inspired by astronomical ideas (organized into 22 topical categories, e.g. black holes, planets, etc.) is still available in Astronomy Education Review at:

Both classical and popular music are included.

An annotated overview of 98 astronomy applications for smart phones and tablets has also been published in Astronomy Education Review and features brief descriptions and direct URLs: (click on the PDF version under the author’s name for the easiest format for links.)   The listing includes a variety of apps for displaying and explaining the sky above you (some using the GPS function in your device); a series of astronomical clocks, calculators, and calendars; sky catalogs and observing planners; planet atlases and globes; citizens science tools and image displays; a directory of astronomy clubs in the U.S.; and even a graphic simulator for making galaxies collide. A number of the apps are free, and others cost just a dollar or two. A brief list of articles featuring astronomy app reviews is also included.

4. A Video about Interesting Studies of College Astronomy Teaching

At this summer’s Astronomical Society of the Pacific meeting, Douglas Duncan (U. of Colorado) and Alex Rudolph (Cal State Pomona) were part of a plenary session answering such questions as:  What do learning surveys tell us about the best teaching practices? Are students really the multitaskers they profess to be? Does student addiction to electronic devices and their in-class use impact learning outcomes?  See the tape at:

5. Announcements

a. The journal Astronomy Education Review has been discontinued by the American Astronomical Society, although its archive of published papers will remain available on the web.   For the obituary, see:

b. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is looking for a new Executive Director. An international non-profit scientific and educational organization, founded in 1889, the ASP is headquartered in San Francisco. The Society includes and works with professional astronomers, educators at all levels and in many settings, amateur astronomers and the interested public.  ASP publications include a technical journal and conference books, a popular-level magazine, and a newsletter for K-12 teachers.  Activities include an annual meeting, workshops, outreach events, and on-line training programs. The Society seeks an experienced, articulate, and dynamic executive director, with management experience and a passion for science and education.  More information about the ASP can be found at  For a full position profile and application guidelines, please e-mail:


Andrew Fraknoi
Chair, Astronomy Department
Foothill College
12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

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