Unit 1: How to Point to a Star
Unit 2: Where on Earth Are You?
Unit 3: Earth's Rotation and the Sun's Apparent Motion
Unit 4: Yearly Changes in the Sky
Unit 5: Seasons and Climate
Unit 6
Unit 7: Sundials
Unit 8: Navigation
Unit 9: Ancient Astronomy




Welcome to North Star

In the first course, North Star, we set out to show you the sky from the perspective of being on the Earth - where things are, how they move or appear to move, and why.  This is the sort of practical astronomical knowledge that our ancestors have used for millennia to set up a calendar and to navigate around our globe.  These skills were vital to their survival.  Now, of course, we have very sophisticated devices for keeping track of the date and time and our location.  Still, it helps us feel connected to our past and our planet, and helps us to understand what it took for humanity to spread out over the Earth, if we understand something of what happens in the sky.

You might have noticed the unit buttons are made up of flags. The flags that make up the buttons on the left are the standard nautical flags used to denote the numbers one through nine. The square flags that you see on the buttons of each web page indicates an 'N' for Next.

To start work on the course, and for detailed information on what you should expect to do in the course, click on North Star Introduction, below.  After you read the introduction, you will proceed to Activity 1.  After completing Activity 1, you will move to the first full North Star section, Unit 1: Earth is a Sphere. Once you have completely finished Unit 1, you will proceed to Activity 2, the Unit 2 and so on. 

You might be tempted to skip the "activity" before some of the units. This is not a good idea, because without the activities to get you started the units will be harder. It is often painfully obvious when someone attempts a unit without first doing the activity!

Important Links:

Refer to the FAQ page for any other questions.

If the posted questions do not help, you may also e-mail your instructor.