Using the Web

Go to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) app or website ( and click on “Archive” to look at the recent pictures and videos. Submissions to this website come from all around the world. Pick one and read the explanation. Was the image or video taken from Earth or from space? Is it a combination of several images? Does it show Earth, our Solar System, objects in our Milky Way Galaxy, more distant galaxies, or something else? Is the explanation understandable to someone who has not studied astronomy? Do you think this website promotes a general interest in astronomy?
Go to the Hayden Planetarium website ( and view the short video The Known Universe, which takes the viewer on a journey from the Himalayan mountains to the most distant galaxies. Do you think the video is effective for showing the size and scale of the universe?
A similar film produced in 1996 in IMAX, Cosmic Voyage, can be found online at Watch the “powers of ten” zoom out to the cosmos, starting at the 7-minute mark, for about 5 minutes. Do the “powers of ten” circles add to your understanding of the size and scale of the universe? (The original film Powers of Ten, a 1968 documentary, can be viewed online at, but notably it extends only a hundredth as far as the newer ones.)
Throughout this book we will examine how discoveries in astronomy and space are covered in the media. Go to your favorite news website (or to one assigned by your instructor) and find a recent article about astronomy or space. Does this website have a separate section for science? Is the article you selected based on a press release, on interviews with scientists, or on an article in a scientific journal? Use Google News or the equivalent to see how widespread the coverage of this story is. Have many newspapers carried it? Has it been picked up internationally? Has it been discussed in blogs? Do you think this story was interesting enough to be covered?
Go to a blog about astronomy or space. There are good collections at and Is the blogger a scientist, a science writer, a student, or an enthusiastic amateur astronomer? What is the current topic of interest? Is it controversial? Are readers making many comments? Is this blog something you would want to read again?

Submit to Gradebook:

First Name:
Last Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Professor's Email Address: