(10 reviews)


Andrew Fraknoi, Foothill College
David Morrison, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Sidney Wolff, National Optical Astronomy Observatories (Emeritus)

Pub Date: 2016

ISBN 13: 978-1-9381682-8-4

Publisher: OpenStax CNX

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Reviewed by Nicholas Abel, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Cincinnati, Clermont College, on 3/28/2018.

The book covers all the topics I would expect a two semester introductory astronomy course to cover. This book could be used to teach both a Solar … read more



Reviewed by Josh Tan, Asst. Professor, LaGuardia Community College, on 2/2/2018.

Astronomy as far as introductory astronomy texts are concerned is an enormous text that does an admirable job of including almost all the content you … read more



Reviewed by Katrina Henry, Assistant Professor, Virginia Wesleyan University, on 2/2/2018.

From ancient astronomy to the recent discovery of gravitational waves this text presents an overview of astronomy from prehistory to present. … read more



Reviewed by Paul Morgan, Associate Professor, Umpqua Community College, on 6/21/2017.

The textbook is very comprehensive. From debunking Astrology , to planets and moon in the Solar System, to Stars and galaxies "Astronomy" provides … read more



Reviewed by Cathy Bunge, Adjunct Faculty, Northern Virginia Community College, on 6/21/2017.

The text covers all areas of Astronomy and provides an excellent discussion of science in general. “In science (after formal education and … read more



Reviewed by Rebecca Ericson, Assistant Professor, George Mason University, on 6/21/2017.

The book is comprehensive in topic with depth of coverage suitable for general education students in either a one or two semester course. The text … read more



Reviewed by Stephanie Welch, Instructor, Southeastern Louisiana University, on 6/21/2017.

I found this textbook to be a very comprehensive coverage of Astronomy, but possibly structured a little strangely.… read more



Reviewed by Chelsea Tiffany, Physics Instructor, Saint Paul College, on 4/12/2017.

Astronomy by OpenStax covers the basic topics for an introductory astronomy class. This includes night sky, planets, sun, stars (life and death), … read more



Reviewed by James Rittenbach, Professor, Rogue Community College, on 4/12/2017.

This text is very comprehensive at nearly 1200 pages for an introductory astronomy text. It covers more topics than any other astronomy text at this … read more



Reviewed by Kenny Tapp, Adjunct Professor, St. Cloud Technical & Community College | Riverland Community College, on 12/6/2016.

This book sufficiently covers all of the topics that are common for an introductory Astronomy course; it includes fundamentals (instruments, … read more


Table of Contents

  • 1 Science and the Universe: A Brief Tour
  • 2 Observing the Sky: The Birth of Astronomy
  • 3 Orbits and Gravity
  • 4 Earth, Moon, and Sky
  • 5 Radiation and Spectra
  • 6 Astronomical Instruments
  • 7 Other Worlds: An Introduction to the Solar System
  • 8 Earth as a Planet
  • 9 Cratered Worlds
  • 10 Earthlike Planets: Venus and Mars
  • 11 The Giant Planets
  • 12 Rings, Moons, and Pluto
  • 13 Comets and Asteroids: Debris of the Solar System
  • 14 Cosmic Samples and the Origin of the Solar System
  • 15 The Sun: A Garden-Variety Star
  • 16 The Sun: A Nuclear Powerhouse
  • 17 Analyzing Starlight
  • 18 The Stars: A Celestial Census
  • 19 Celestial Distances
  • 20 Between the Stars: Gas and Dust in Space
  • 21 The Birth of Stars and the Discovery of Planets outside the Solar System
  • 22 Stars from Adolescence to Old Age
  • 23 The Death of Stars
  • 24 Black Holes and Curved Spacetime
  • 25 The Milky Way Galaxy
  • 26 Galaxies
  • 27 Active Galaxies, Quasars, and Supermassive Black Holes
  • 28 The Evolution and Distribution of Galaxies
  • 29 The Big Bang
  • 30 Life in the Universe

About the Book

Astronomy is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of one- or two-semester introductory astronomy courses. The book begins with relevant scientific fundamentals and progresses through an exploration of the solar system, stars, galaxies and cosmology. The Astronomy textbook builds student understanding through the use of relevant analogies, clear and non-technical explanations, and rich illustrations. Mathematics is included in a flexible manner to meet the needs of individual instructors.


About the Contributors


Andrew Fraknoi is Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College and served as the Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from 1978–1992. His work with the society included editing Mercury Magazine, Universe in the Classroom, and Astronomy Beat. He’s taught at San Francisco State University, Canada College, and the University of California Extension. He is editor/co-author of The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0, a collection of teaching activities, and co-author of Solar Science, a book for middle-school teachers. He was co-author of a syndicated newspaper column on astronomy, and appears regularly on local and national radio. With Sidney Wolff, he was founder of Astronomy Education Review. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute and on the Lick Observatory Council. In addition, he has organized six national symposia on teaching introductory astronomy. He received the Klumpke-Roberts Prize of the ASP, the Gemant Award of the American Institute of Physics, and the Faraday Award of the NSTA.

David Morrison is a Senior Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. He received his PhD in astronomy from Harvard, where he was one of Carl Sagan’s graduate students. He is a founder of the field of astrobiology and is known for research on small bodies in the solar system. He spent 17 years at University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He was Director of the IRTF at Mauna Kea Observatory. Morrison has held senior NASA positions including Chief of the Ames Space Science Division and founding Director of the Lunar Science Institute. He’s been on science teams for the Voyager, Galileo, and Kepler missions. Morrison received NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He was awarded the AAS Carl Sagan medal and the ASP Klumpke-Roberts prize. Committed to the struggle against pseudoscience, he serves as Contributing Editor of Skeptical Inquirer and on the Advisory Council of the National Center for Science Education.

After receiving her PhD from the UC Berkeley, Dr. Wolff was involved with the astronomical development of Mauna Kea. In 1984, she became the Director of Kitt Peak National Observatory, and was director of National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Most recently, she led the design and development of the 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Dr. Wolff has published over ninety refereed papers on star formation and stellar atmospheres. She has served as President of the AAS and the ASP. Her recently published book, The Boundless Universe: Astronomy in the New Age of Discovery, won the 2016 IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) Silver Medal in Science.