From Stargazers to Starships

You have reached the homepage of a tutorial exposition focused on 3 topics:

Also containing
For easier reading, view this site with size 14 font (but print out with size 10 or 12). The material is self-contained, at the high-school level, rich in history and is best studied in the order listed below.

You will find here:

Astronomy of the Earth's motion in space:

The Sky Above Us
   1a.Finding the Pole Star
2. The Path of the Sun, the Ecliptic
   2a.Building a Sundial
3. Seasons of the Year
4. The Angle of the Sun's Rays 5. Latitude and Longitude
6. The Calendar
7. Precession
8. The Round Earth and Christopher Columbus
  Distance to the Horizon
   How Distant is the Moon?--1
   How Distant is the Moon?--2
9, The central role of the Sun
   9a.Aristarchus: Is Earth Revolving around the Sun?
   9b.The Earth's Shadow
   9c.Copernicus, Galileo, and the Discovery of the Solar System
10. Kepler and his Laws
11. Graphs and Ellipses
  11a.Ellipses and Kepler's First Law
12. Kepler's Second Law
  12a.How Orbital Motion is Calculated

Newtonian mechanics

13. The Way Things Fall
14. Vectors
15. Energy
16. Newton and his Laws
17. Mass
  17a.Mass Measurements aboard Space Station Skylab
  17b.Comparing Mass Without use of Gravity
18. Newton's Second Law
19. Motion in a Circle
20. Newton's theory of "Universal Gravitation"
21. Kepler's Third Law
  21a.Applying Kepler's Third Law
22. Frames of Reference: The Basics
  22a.The Aberration of Starlight
  22b. Airplane Flight
23. Frames of Reference: The Centrifugal Force
24. Rotating Frames of Reference in Space and on Earth

The Sun

S-1.     Sunlight and the Earth
S-2.     Our View of the Sun
S-3.     The Magnetic Sun
S-4.     The Many Colors of Sunlight
S-5.     Waves and Photons
S-6.     Seeing the Sun in a New Light
S-7.     The Energy of the Sun

Spaceflight and Spacecraft

25. The Principle of the Rocket
26. Robert Goddard and his Rockets
27. The Evolution of the Rocket
28. Spaceflight
29. Spacecraft
  29a.Satellites observing the Sun, solar system and the universe
  29b.   Satellites observing Earth from above
  29c.   Satellites which observe the local space environment
  29d.   Satellites for commercial benefits
  29e.   Missions to planets and distant space
30. Far-out Pathways to Space: Great Guns?
   30a.    Project HARP and the Martlet
31. Far-out Pathways to Space: Nuclear Power
32. Far-out pathways to Space: Solar Sails
   32a.    Early Warning of Interplanetary Disturbances
33. Ion Rockets
34. Orbits in Space
  34a.    The Distance to the L1 Point
  34b.The L4 and L5 Lagrangian Points
35. To the Planets, To the Stars
   35a.Planetary Swing-by and the Pelton Turbine

A Math Refresher

Home page

Elements of algebra

(M-1) Basic ideas
(M-2) How it all started
(M-3) Formulas
(M-4) Identities
(M-5) Deriving Approximate Results

(M-6) The Theorem of Pythagoras

Elements of trigonometry

(M-7) What is it good for?
(M-8) How to tell sines from cosines
(M-9) Deriving sines and cosines
(M-10) Going past 90 degrees
(M-11) Deriving sin(a+b), cos(a+b)

Helpful Material

Questions and Answers by users of "Stargazers".
Hints to users.
A Glossary of Terms(Cross-linked, keyed to the text)
Timeline (A chronology).
Annotated Timeline (With added dates from history). .
Of special interest to teachers:

From Stargazers to Starships follows an earlier site The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere. Stargazers deals with the world of gravity--of massive planets and stars, and the way spaceflight is achieved despite their strong pull. "Exploration" on the other hand looks at the hot (but usually rarefied) gases which fill most of space, which are ruled by magnetic and electric forces rather than by gravity. The polar aurora, the radiation belts, the solar wind, magnetic storms, "space weather", cosmic radiation--this is the site which tells you all about them.

Author and Curator: David P. Stern
NASA/GSFC Code 695

Web Design: Conway Carter
Image Editing: Eddie Welker

Last updated: 14 July, 1999