The Catholic University of America

Humans have long wondered about the origins of the universe and the movements of the sun, moon, and stars as seen from earth. Biblical writers give expression to this wonder in multiple texts, including Psalm 8 and Psalm 19. The links below lead to online resources that provide access to current scientific understanding of the origin and development of the cosmos and solar system, and how scientists have arrived at this understanding. Some of the sites include materials useful for teaching.

 

  • The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the primary professional society for astronomers. Their website includes an overview of teaching materials and extensive set of links to resources for educators.
     
  • The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) provides several educational resources including both online and classroom activities.
     
  • The Hubble Space Telescope recently celebrated its 25th anniversary (April 23, 2015) and, in celebration, some of the most famous images it captures have been widely recirculated online. The Hubble website has a gallery of images and outreach for public education and educators. It also describes the James Webb Space Telescope due to launch in 2018.
     
  • The Space Telescope Science Institute has a Formal Education Group that created the Amazing Space website for public outreach and education. The section “for everyone” includes hands-on astronomy activities that can be accomplished indoors. The section “for educators and developers” includes excellent teaching tools organized by topic and by type. For example, the type “myths v realities” activities clarify the kinds of misconceptions people commonly have, how they interfere with understanding science and the natural world, and how scientist educators have learned to overcome them.
     
  • The NASA website also hosts an astrophysics section including introductions to astronomical topics for the public, such as the Big Bang. Also, NASA Wavelength is an online directory to education resources for earth and space science at all educational levels, searchable by topic of educational level.
     
  • NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) has a website including a section Universe 101: Big Bang Theory that provides an overview of Big Bang Theory and its development since the early 20th century. One can navigate through the related web pages or download the pdf version from the front page.
     
  • The Vatican Observatory has a website that includes links on science and religion and an faq on science, religion, and the Vatican Observatory. Also, the Vatican Observatory Foundation published blogs by Observatory staff.
     
  • A professor at UCLA maintains a webpage about cosmology with a tutorial and FAQ.
     
  • Graduate students in astronomy from around the world create the content on Astrobites in order to make professional astronomical research accessible to undergraduates in daily updates. It includes discussion of classical papers, such as one on the age of the earth. See also this Kansas University page and BioLogos page.
     
  • Web Exhibits is an online interactive museum of science and humanities. They host a site Calendars Through the Ages that describes how various cultures have used astronomical data to mark time. In Genesis 1, the creation of celestial luminaries is the only act of creation whose purpose is explicitly stated: to organize time. Web Exhibits also host a site about daylight savings time.
     
  • The massive website Talk Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy originated as a newsgroup devoted to addressing creationist and intelligent design claims from a scientific perspective. The best posts (by vote) were incorporated into the archive. The archive is not limited to evolution, but includes information about, for example, Big Bang Theory (note the related links). Note the dates on posts and be mindful that recent years have seen an array of scientific advances across many fields.
     
  • The US Geological Survey (USGS) is a scientific agency of the US Federal government that provides scientific information about the earth for the purposes of resource management. Their website includes accessible summaries of scientific knowledge about the age of the earth, the radiometric time scale, and geological time. Their site is extensive and accessible, with information about climate and land use changeecosystems, and water, including educational resources about water. The site also includes general science education resources organized by educational level and scientific topic. The site includes access to their topographic and other scientific maps that can be digitally tailored to specific information and locations.
     
  • The American Institute of Physics (AIP) hosts an accessible history of cosmology on their website that covers the ancient Greeks and the development of modern science to contemporary Big Bang Theory.
     
  • The Trial of Galileo is an infamous and often misunderstood episode in the history of the relationship between science and religion. It has been extensively studied and many online resources summarize the history and issues involved. The Vatican Observatory provides a clear and concise introduction to the Galileo affair with updates on current Catholic approaches to science. Famous Trials series of websites has a page with basic information about the trial of Galileo. Rice University host a more elaborate online project documenting Galileo’s life and the science of his time. Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook hosts a translation of the full text of Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina in which he defends his position and articulates a influential ideas on how to interpret Scripture in relation to scientific findings.