Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide {Study and Teaching Resource}

Being a huge fan of science, I always jump at the opportunity to read a good study guide on the subject. I've always enjoyed books that teach, and now that I'm a homeschooling mother, they're especially helpful in getting me prepared for further studies to come. Lately, I have been coming across some pretty great teaching resources that cover the more complex studies of science, like for instance Physics. Just recently, I was also presented with the chance to read the Eight Edition of Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide by Dinah L. Moché.

For a generation, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the night sky. Now this classic beginner's guide has been completely revised to bring it up to date with the latest discoveries. Updated with the latest, most accurate information, new online resources, and more than 100 new graphics and photos.

Dr. Moch√© appears on TV and radio and in person throughout the U.S. She was invited to the White House for the President’s conference on America’s Future in Space. Over 10 million copies of her book have sold worldwide in 7 languages! Her research notes, original manuscripts, galleys and page proofs, dummies, publishing correspondence and fan mail are archived at the University of Southern Mississippi, de Grummond Children's Literature Research Collection, McCain Library.

I've always been fascinated with the study of astronomy. Of course, it can be a little intense at times. As with most science disciplines, there's really a lot to take in, so it's easy to get overwhelmed. It has been almost twenty years since I've taken a astronomy course in college, so suffice to say, it was time for a little refresher. This was the perfect book to help me get started.

Being the Eight Edition, the book includes the most up-to-date and accurate information on the latest scientific discoveries. This recent edition offers over 100 new graphics and photos, including a new full-color insert on glossy print. 

The book serves as a comprehensive guide to the study of astronomy, and conveniently breaks down specific topics into different chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Understanding the Starry Sky
  • Chapter 2: Lights and Telescopes
  • Chapter 3: Stars
  • Chapter 4: The Sun
  • Chapter 5: Stellar Evolution
  • Chapter 6: Galaxies
  • Chapter 7: The Universe
  • Chapter 8 Exploring the Solar System
  • Chapter 9: The Planets
  • Chapter 10: The Moon
  • Chapter 11: Comets, Meteors, and Meteorites
  • Chapter 12: Life on Other Worlds?

Let's face it, I remember my astronomy class wasn't just about planets–there was plenty of math and physics involved. What I really like about Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide is that it takes complex, technical ideas and puts them into simpler terms. This makes it the perfect book not only for someone like me who needs a little refresher, but also for those who are just beginning their study in the subject. The author offers well-written, thought out explanations, even for the math equations that are included.

Since this is a self-teaching guide, it has an interactive format to help readers retain the information. The beginning of each chapter includes a set of learning objectives, so you are aware of the study goals. The chapters contain subsections to break down the information step by step. After these subsections, you'll also find a review question or two that tests you as you go along. At the end of each chapter there is also a self test that you can take to see how well you've retained the information, as well as a helpful answer key to see how your answers matched up. In addition to these handy features, I also appreciate that there are plenty of charts, tables, and descriptive illustrations to refer back to. 

As thorough as this guide is in teaching the study of astronomy, it's also extremely easy to follow along to. I know for me, personally, Astronomy: A Self Teaching Guide definitely surpasses any astronomy text book that I've ever owned. I honestly wished that I had this book in college before taking that astronomy course. Now don't get me wrong, I actually did really good in the class, but it was definitely a challenging course, so I had my work cut out for me. Reading this beforehand would have definitely prepped me for what was to come.

If you're looking for a good primer on the study of astronomy, then I highly recommend picking up Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide, Eighth Edition. This book is perfect for hobbyists, students (both high school and college), homeschooling parents, and classroom teachers.

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