Milky Way in Cygnus

Elementary Astronomy (Astronomy/Physics 1040)

Instructor: Daniel Schroeder, Physics Department, Weber State University

Lecture slides from an earlier version of this course are linked below. These files are in PowerPoint format. Most are a few hundred kilobytes in size; those that are over 1 megabyte are noted below. Due to copyright restictions, I've deleted some of the illustrations from these files before posting them. Also missing are detailed comments, explanations, demonstrations, and computer simulations delivered in class. Still, these slides outline most of the lecture content of a reasonably comprehensive introductory astronomy course. For an alternative collection of astronomy lectures, see the web site of my colleague Dr. Stacy Palen's astronomy course. Or check out the Open Course Astronomy site.

Additional Resources

To construct your own low-tech planisphere, check out this web site. Here is a very simple set of printable star charts that show the entire sky in just four pages. For more experienced sky observers, here's a complete, free, magnitude-7 star atlas in 20 pages, showing hundreds of clusters and galaxies.

For spectacular time-lapse videos, check out

Here's a cool interactive simulation of the solar system.

The Newton's Cannon applet shows how orbits work.

Check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day!

Here's a good calendar of astronomical events.

For the latest report on sunspots, aurorae, and other solar-related activity, see

And just for fun, read the lyrics to Global View. Special offer: Find and document the inconsistency in the numbers given in this song, and win a free Milky Way bar! (Fine print: Documentation must be submitted in writing. The inconsistency is significant, not a mere round-off error in the 10% range. Although you may check the numbers in the song against other sources, your documentation should demonstrate an internal inconsistency, within the song itself.)

Last updated on 20 August 2010.