The Stargazer’s Guide for Middle and High School Astronomy
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
Dr. Jason Lisle’s Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky from Master Books is a 240-page hardback astronomy book for students, amateur astronomers, and backyard gazers. It is part of our homeschool science curriculum this year for eighth and eleventh grade astronomy. My boys are all studying astronomy together, but I’m using some duplicate and some different materials with each of them. This book is one of the primary texts we’re using as the groundwork for their courses, along with the Parent Lesson Planners from Master Books for Intro to Astronomy and Survey of Astronomy. We will be revisiting this book for Intro to Meteorology & Astronomy as well, so this one resource is proving to be a wise investment.
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Dr. Lisle’s book is a science text, a how-to guide, and a complete reference book for anyone studying the skies. Full of stunning photography and star charts, it is complete with an index for easily referencing specific topics. There is even instruction in astrophotography, which particularly interested my high school filmmaker. We do not own a telescope, but we still found The Stargazer’s Guide to be a useful book for learning more about the heavens.
My boys read this book a section at a time, and then they have questions related to the reading to discuss with me. They also use the book as a field guide for hands-on astronomy projects and to supplement our other astronomy resources.
Written from a biblical worldview, I like the way The Stargazer’s Guide presents the study of astronomy from a creationist perspective, especially because so many astronomy resources focus on the Big Bang theory and “billions-of-years” philosophy. It’s nice to have a different perspective to share with my inquisitive teens.
The Stargazer’s Guide is divided into twelve chapters, which cover:
- celestial motions
- the human eye and what it can see unaided or just with binoculars
- the sun and moon
- celestial events
- planets and deep sky objects
Some of the photographs, particularly those taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, are really amazing. The hand of God is clearly seen through these beautiful images. I appreciated Dr. Lisle’s approach and his advice to set reasonable expectations for what a beginner will be able to see. I’m happy to be able to identify some of the visible planets and constellations, instead of just saying, “look how pretty the stars are.”
The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky answers questions like the reasons for the 24-hour day, how the planets move, and what a meteor shower actually is. My younger child is mesmerized by the photographs and enjoys just flipping through the book for inspiration on his voyages to space in his cardboard rocket ship, while my older ones are busily mapping the skies in our backyard.