The Summer Sky
Episode 11 of Our Night Sky

The Summer Sky
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Our Night Sky
For thousands of years, the star-filled sky has been a source of wonder, discovery, and entertainment. All you need to feel at home in its limitless expanse is Our Night Sky, a richly illustrated 12-episode course that gives you an unrivaled tour around the sky--all while teaching you about the…
Seeing and Navigating the Sky
Episode 2 of Our Night Sky
The naked eye is a powerful instrument: if you know how to use it. Learn the best times and conditions for observing, how to identify the positions and magnitudes of stars and planets, how the sky changes over the course of a night, how to use astronomical maps such as…
The Northern Sky and the North Celestial Pole
Episode 7 of Our Night Sky
Embarking on the second half of the course in which you systematically tour the entire sky, study two constellations that are continuously in view from the Northern Hemisphere: Ursa Major and Cassiopeia. Also explore the slowly shifting position of true north in the sky.
The Fall Sky
Episode 8 of Our Night Sky
Navigate your way around the autumn sky from the Northern Hemisphere, discovering how the classical myth of Andromeda ties together the stories of the nearby constellations of Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Pegasus, and Cetus. The sights include the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest large galaxy to our own.
The Winter Sky
Episode 9 of Our Night Sky
Continuing your focus on the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, survey the magnificent winter sky, dominated by Orion. Star hop around the region, which includes a wealth of interesting stars, globular clusters, nebulae, and other features, especially the Orion Nebula: the finest nebula in the northern sky: and the Pleiades…
The Spring Sky
Episode 10 of Our Night Sky
The spring sky opens the view into intergalactic space perpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way. Among the objects visible are the immensely rich galaxy clusters in Virgo and Coma Berenices, which are many millions of light-years distant and can be seen with small and moderate telescopes.
The Southern Sky and the Milky Way
Episode 12 of Our Night Sky
In this final episode, travel to the Southern Hemisphere for sky views inaccessible from northern latitudes. Discover the famous Southern Cross, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and a spectacular panorama of the Milky Way: along with new myths and stories that add a human dimension to our marvelous night…
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy
Taught by Professor Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University, this course shows how ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, Chinese, and other cultures saw the sky. You learn how the Sun, Moon, and stars were their clock, calendar, and compass; constellations encoded their mythologies; and the heavens inspired religious and philosophical ideas,…
Stonehenge and Archaeoastronomy
Why were the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars so important to ancient people? Investigate key astronomical directions noticed by all cultures. Then embark on your study of Stonehenge, seeing how it gave birth to the field of archaeoastronomy and to some very curious modern theories.
The Real Stonehenge
In the popular mind, Stonehenge was built as a sophisticated astronomical calculator presided over by priestly astronomers called Druids. But is this view dating from the mid-1960s correct? Address the evidence, and survey the archaeological record to discover the most probable function of Stonehenge.
Alignments at Maes Howe and Newgrange
Explore Neolithic tombs and monuments across Europe, discovering an array of alignments toward astronomical events. Start with two sites that are similar to Stonehenge in their clear orientation to the winter solstice: Maes Howe in the Orkney Islands, and Newgrange in Ireland.
Astronomy of Egypt's Great Pyramid
Study the astronomical significance of Egypt's Great Pyramid. How did its builders achieve such phenomenal accuracy in the pyramid's alignment to the cardinal directions? Were its air shafts intended to point at stars of special importance? Also evaluate modern claims for the mystical power of pyramids.