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GTTP: Selected Resources

The following links will take you to useful education products and activities related to Galileo and his observations, as well as other materials available to help teachers achieve curriculum goals, teach science as a process, and find good astronomy exercises. Check them out—and check back as the resource list grows.

In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter

This activity was developed for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 as a hands-on, inquiry-based activity simulating Galileo’s observations of the four large moons of Jupiter to provide a participatory demonstration of how science works.


This web site provides a description and ordering information for the Galileoscope, a small and inexpensive telescope capable of observing the moon, the moons of Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn; it can also be taken apart and put back together to demonstrate how a telescope works. The site provides links to an ordering site, assembly instructions, and an education site. The education site includes links to an optics activity guide, an observing guide, and a set of activities called Galileo’s Classroom: A Teacher Workshop in Celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 at the University of Wyoming CAPER web site.

Dark Skies Awareness

This web site provides links to a wide variety of content and hands-on activities related to increasing awareness of the value of preserving dark skies. Included are links to the Globe at Night program, a citizen science program in which students can make observations of the degree of light pollution in their local sky and contribute their date to a global data base, and Dark Sky Rangers, providing a series of activities relating to dark skies awareness suitable for the classroom.

Four Hundred Years of the Telescope

This PBS-aired film, produced by Interstellar Studios, chronicles the history of the telescope and how it has changed our view and understanding of the universe. This web side include much useful information and a “For Teachers” section that provides lots of good activities and materials related to the telescope, Galileo’s observations, and topics covered in the film.

IYA Discovery Guides

These downloadable sets of materials, activities, and brief videos were designed for use by amateur astronomers engaged in astronomy outreach, but can also provide hands-on activity opportunities adaptable for the classroom. Originally organized by theme, featured object and month during 2009, these resources will be repackaged as education sets organized by theme. In the meantime, feel free to explore, download and use.

Cosmic Clearinghouse

Cosmic Clearinghouse serves as an educational clearing house for the best astronomy outreach resources, activities, images, materials, guides, facilities and events for a variety of target audiences from the casual enthusiast to the professional educator, including a section for classroom teachers. Come back often, watch it grow, and explore!

Galileo: The Man and His Science

This resource list constitutes a guide to Galileo-related books, articles, and other materials in English. It’s designed to help introduce beginners to the life and work of the great scientist, who, in many ways, was both the founder of science and the first systematic observer with a telescope.

Best Astronomical Images on the Web

A selected guide to web sites containing many of the best astronomical images available online.

Galileo: Myths Versus Facts

This article appeared as the March 23, 2009 issue of Astronomy Beat, a publication for members of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

In 2009, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning the telescope to the heavens. The International Year of Astronomy is in full swing, and April 2–5 astronomers, educators, and amateurs will be putting on 100 hours of astronomical webcasts, open houses, and star parties. There are bound to be many questions about Galileo, so we asked historian of astronomy Jim Lattis to help sort out some of the key issues about what Galileo did and did not do.

Revolutionary Venus: How Observing Venus with a Telescope Changed the World

This is activity C10 from The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0, a DVD-ROM resource collection for teaching astronomy.

The most direct and dramatic proof of the heliocentric model of the solar system came from Galileo’s observations of the phases (different appearances of sunlit and dark areas) on the disk of the planet Venus as seen through his telescope. Here students learn about phases and then compare the motion of Venus around the Sun in two models and how it would produce phases as seen from Earth.