Astronomy Research Guide

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Welcome! Click on a tab below to find books, videos, articles, and websites for use in Astronomy classes.

Looking for info on another topic, such as Mathematics or Physics? Find them on the Research page.

If you need additional help, stop by the Reference Desk or contact a reference librarian: Ask A Librarian.

  1. Reference
  2. Books & Videos
  3. Articles
  4. Websites
  5. Data

Finding Reference Information

Use reference sources to discover background information on a topic. This will help you to refine your search in the catalog and databases (as well as your thesis!).

Feeling a little lost and want information on a general topic (like "general relativity")?

Try looking in the online databases Gale Virtual Reference Library or in Credo. Both have the full text of several dictionaries and encyclopedias online for you and will help you get started on a topic.

Specific Books

Finding books

  1. Start by heading to the library catalog at the top of this screen.
  2. Try typing in a couple of words to narrow your topic, such as "photography" and "astronomy".
  3. Click on titles that interest you in order to get more information, including a table of contents for the book and a summary.
  4. Write down the title, location, and call number in order to find the book. Head to a reference desk in the library to get help finding your book.

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Videos

The Library owns many Astronomy films in DVD, VHS and streaming formats. Check the list of titles at:

Find videos related to Cosmology in Physics & Engineering at:

Best Bets: Databases

The Library subscribes to many databases that provide access to thousands of popular and credible, scholarly journals. Many databases provide access to full-text articles, while some provide information about the article only (citation).

  • Academic Search Complete
    Multidisciplinary database covering a wide range of academic areas.
  • Science Direct
    Full-text of hundreds of scientific journals from the publisher Elsevier. Be sure to select "Subscribed Journals" from the Source drop-down menu. Datasets are available for some articles in the "article outline" section.
  • The Journal for the History of Astronomy has great articles on a variety of astronomical topics. (Online from 1999-present.)
  • Science Online.
    The full text of Science from 1997-Present. Science is available from 1880-1996 in the JSTOR database.
  • Scientific American Archives Online
    Indexing of every issue of Scientific American. PDFs of every article from 1993 to present.

Not finding what you need? Try our full list of science databases.

Interlibrary Loan

Not finding the article you want in full-text online? Start by checking our journal locator to be sure that the article isn't just in another of our databases. Type in the journal name to see if we have access to the journal, and if so, for which dates.

For journal articles, bibliographic citations in the chemical literature tend to give abbreviated titles. Talk to Laura if you need help finding the full journal title when requesting an article. This guide to astronomy journal abbreviations will be helpful.

Still not finding your article?

Use Interlibrary Loan to get books and articles from other libraries. For books, be sure to get author, title and date whenever possible.

Interlibrary loan articles may take up to 5 business days, so give yourself time to get these materials.

Websites

  • Astrobiology Web
    News and links to websites with information on life in extreme places, from early earth, to hydrothermal vents, to outer space.
  • The Astronomical Almanac for the Year ...
    Additional data in web format to supplement print version in Reference.
  • Astronomycenter.org
    Part of the comPADRE digital resources for physics and astronomy, a collection of web information for college-level introductory astronomy faculty and students.
  • An Atlas of the Universe
    From 12.5 light years to 14 billion light years from the sun, nine main maps of the universe at that distance. Each map is approximately ten times the scale of the previous one.
  • Constellations and Their Stars
    IIntroduction to the constellations, including name origin, stars and Messier objects in the constellation, links to images and other websites, and other useful information.
  • Encyclopedia Astronautica
    Comprehensive site on the history of spaceflight. Current news and background information on space exploration. Text-heavy but useful.
  • Eric Weisstein's World of Astronomy
    An on-line encyclopedia with concise explanations of hundreds of topics in astronomy.
  • Galileo Project
    Hypertext links to biographical, historical and scientific information and documents about Galileo Galilei.
  • HubbleSite
    Hubble Telescope-generated pictures (in Gallery), history and news related to the telescope, Hubble discoveries explained, education, and astronomy exploration covered in this website from the Space Telescope Science Institute.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    From the JPL at the California Institute of Technology, news and research on earth-study from space, the solar system, stars and galaxies and more.
  • Meteor Showers
    News and current information about meteor showers.
  • NASA Homepage
    Text, images and streaming videos on the history and current projects of NASA and information about the solar system and beyond.
  • Nine (8) Planets: a Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
    The history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system using text, images, and video with many links to websites for further information.
  • Powers of Ten
    View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth, then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude, finally going down microscopically to the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
  • Sky and Telescope
    Includes guides to "how-to", weekly descriptions of the "This Week's Sky at a Glance," equipment test reports, and resources lists of including internet links, astronomy clubs, and special astronomy-related events.
  • Skymaps.com
    Download and print a limited number of copies for personal or educational use of an excellent quality Evening Sky Map for the month; choose Northern, Equatorial or Southern Hemispheres.
  • Views of the Solar System
    Images, data tables, and text describe the planets, sun, and other objects in the solar system.

Data

Looking for data for your astronomy project? Looking at the datasets available in published articles in Science Direct or Academic Search Complete, or even JSTOR can be a good place to start. Look at the Articles page for more information.

You'll also want to use Journal Locator to see if we have articles on a variety of topics if there is nothing on arxiv or available in full-text.

Books will also have valuable data and images available.

You can also try the following options:

  • Data.Nasa.Gov is a directory of NASA databases, with descriptions of the types of data available. Search for the collection either by name ("Kepler," "Solar Data Analysis Center" or "National Space Science Data Center") or by topic (“solar data” or “exoplanet”) to discover what’s available.
  • The Astrophysics Data System(ADS) contains citations to a wide range of published articles, conference papers, and gray literature. Search by topic, being sure to follow directions below, and then click on an abstract that sounds promising. Once you've read through the abstract, look in the top right corner for "Full-Text Sources." Not finding the full-text article? Remember Journal Locator.
  • US Navy Astronomical Applications Department has records of sun and moon data, eclipses, celestial objects, and solar system bodies.
  • The UK Solar System Data Centre supports data archives for the whole UK solar system community encompassing solar, inter-planetary, magnetospheric, ionospheric and geomagnetic science.
  • The SIMBAD astronomical database provides basic data, cross-identifications, bibliography and measurements for astronomical objects outside the solar system.
  • The Planetary Data System archives and distributes scientific data from NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements. Browse by planet, search by mission, or look by topic (such as "atmospheres").
  • Skyview Virtual Observatory generates images of any part of the sky at wavelengths in all regimes from Radio to Gamma-Ray.
  • NED is a database of extragalactic objects with bibliographic references and basic data.
  • Hyperleda has data related to the physics and evolution of galaxies
  • The National Space Science Data Center has solar system data (including numbers and images) as well as larger universe data.
  • Extrasolar Planet Encyclopaedia has data on exoplanets and the starts they are associated with. Click on "catalog."
  • NASA Exoplanet Archive (Kepler) has exoplanet info.

Still not finding what you need? Try Princeton's Data Guide, or those of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. And, as for any other question, you can always contact me.

Nervous about how to cite?

Michigan State University Library has a great guide to citing data.

For general paper citation guidelines, check out our library's APA citation guide or the Purdue OWL sample APA paper.

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