The Universe in the Classroom

Taking a Grand Virtual Voyage in the Milky Way

Resources to Plan Your Next Trip

Online images and information

Planets and their Moons

Amateur Astro Images

The Web Nebulae Site

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Moon

Pictorial Catalog of Messier Objects

The Astronomy Connection

Space Telescope Science Center

Online astronomy magazines

Sky & Telescope



Activities to Enliven the Voyage

Design a Mars Colony

The Mars Millennium Project is an official White House Millennium Council Youth Initiative. It challenges students across the nation to look forward to the year 2030 and design a Martian colony for 100 humans. For information on participating in the Project, call 310.274.8787 (ext. 150), email, or visit the website

Making Magma Flow

Volcanoes have been discovered on several bodies in the Solar System. And while there are variations on Earthly magma volcanoes, the ones we see here are probably representative of most of those we see on other worlds. The Hawai'i Space Grant College, the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, and the University of Hawai'i have a nice hands-on learning activity in which students how and why magma moves inside volcanoes. To reach the teacher's page for the activity "Gelatin Volcanoes," just hop to URL

Creating a Grapefruit Saturn

Study of Saturn's elaborate rings introduces students to many concepts — making shadows, light travel, making scale models. To address these topics in a simple, straight-forward manner for 10- to 11-year-old students, Lynda Filip and John Percy of the University of Toronto share a classroom activity that involves basic materials like glitter, paint, and…grapefruit. The activity is described online at

How Far Are the Stars?

In the absence of understanding, we tend to think that faint stars are small and bright stars are big. We fail to take into account the fact that stars' apparent brightnesses are, in fact, a strong function of the stars' different distances from us. In this activity, created for PBS, teacher and students use Styrofoam balls, construction paper, and an overhead projector to demonstrate the distances to the stars. This activity, suitable for students from middle school through high school, is available online at

Finding Your Way in the Milky Way

When we look at the sky, we see everything projected onto two dimensions. Objects near and far can be confused if we lack independent knowledge of those objects' distances. So how do we decide where things are in the Galaxy? In this online activity created by educationists associated with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory mission, high school teachers and students learn a little about navigating and mapping in the Milky Way Galaxy. The URL for the activity is

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