Once upon a time, when "From Stargazers to Starships" was first written, it was just a short course at the high school level.
It combined elementary astronomy and mechanics with the story spaceflight, adding interesting insights from the history of science.
All that is still there... but so are many additions! The author's weakness for interesting stories and neat applications caused the material to more than double. Sections (8), (18) and (22) expanded to 5 sections each, an entire part on the Sun was added (also covering weather, magnetism, electromagnetic waves, quantum physics and nuclear energy), and the "math refresher" grew to an entire self-contained course.|
If you are a serious enthusiast, be aware that "Stargazers" is trying to tempt you into interesting by-ways. I have tried to create a site with complete, explicit explanations of space research and related physics. Much of what is available on space is written either by non-scientists whose understanding is incomplete or superficial, or by scientists whose terms are too technical for the non-initiated. "Stargazers" aims at users of ordinary intelligence, though persistence also helps!
A teacher planning a high-school course, should be prepared for some serious pruning. Look up the sections intended for teachers! Some sections are also useful for student projects. A lot of what is found here will fit equally well a beginning course in college (non-calculus).
Feel free to skip details! Many of them, and most references (especially to scientific journals) are only meant for those that study the subjects in depth. If you are not one of those, go easy--or else you may be spending much more time than you had expected.
For your information:
the timeline summarizes the historical background
the math refresher gives all the required mathematics, and
the "Questions and Answers" replies to relevant questions by users.
Author and Curator: Dr. David P. Stern
Mail to Dr.Stern: stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .
Last updated 25 November 2001