Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
This book sufficiently covers all of the topics that are common for an introductory Astronomy course; it includes fundamentals (instruments, observations, radiation, basic physics), solar system (minor bodies, planets, and separate chapter exploring rings, moons, craters), stellar evolution (2-chapters dedicated to the Sun, multiple chapters exploring all stages of stellar evolution, and a special focus on analyzing starlight), and galaxies (MWG, distribution of all types). The index in the PDF version is very thorough and has clickable links to pages; index is not found in the web version. A stand-alone glossary does not exist for either PDF or web versions; however, each chapter contains a mini-glossary of terms (Key Terms) that vary in quantity (some chapters only have a few terms listed, others may have a dozen or more). Each chapter does include substantial exercises and activities, along with a healthy list of resources for further exploration (articles, websites, videos).
Accuracy rating: 5
Overall, the content appears to be accurate and unbiased. Most diagrams, graphics, and images come from NASA. Given that NASA resources are used throughout the entire textbook, it builds confidence that the content has minimal errors.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
This is perhaps the most important part of this review, since many traditional publishers struggle to timely update content with recent science and if they do, it results in yearly, new editions that are ultimately costly to students. The content in this textbook is UP-TO-DATE and features recent scientific discoveries (i.e. Pluto flyby, Mars rovers, exoplanets, etc.). OpenStax updates their textbooks yearly and the web version of this textbook will allow for content to be updated easily and frequently, if needed. This textbook contains recent scientific understanding & discoveries throughout all chapters and topics.
Clarity rating: 4
The text is written to meet the level of an introductory student with mixed or minimal prereqs in science or math. Text includes embedded links that reference a term or concept from another chapter, this allows students to build connections more efficiently. Chapters include special examples, with clearly written explanation, of equations and derivations that would accommodate students of varied math backgrounds. Exercises, review questions, thought questions are provided in each chapter to challenge students of different levels.
Consistency rating: 5
Each chapter contains learning objectives, which establishes the framework for the content of that chapter. The structure of each chapter also includes a concept summary and numerous exercises, activities, review questions, etc..
Modularity rating: 5
The textbook is easily and readily divisible into smaller sections, to accommodate varied design of introductory astronomy courses. The web version, especially, allows the division of chapters into topic-specific parts. The modularity of this textbook allows for easy integration into any LMS.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
This textbook covers the core/common topics of Astronomy, while also presenting in-depth coverage of specific topics. It is structured and organized for a student to naturally progress and build basic Astronomy knowledge.
Interface rating: 5
PDF version works well across multiple devices; web interface is excellent.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
The text contains no grammatical errors that were obvious.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
This text is scientifically objective.
The images and diagrams support the content and help learners better understand the concepts. The textbook includes links to interactive resources.