Key Links for 8.5 The Cosmic Engine

The links provided here are to homepages or major sites with an extensive number of pages related to module 8.5 The Cosmic Engine for the NSW Stage 6 Physics course. Many of these sites provide indexes. All links on this page are to external sites. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure they are active and at an appropriate level, please inform us if you encounter a broken link. More specific links can be found in the relevant sections of The Cosmic Engine site.

Study & HSC

NSW Board of Studies has details on HSC exams, the NSW Physics syllabus, past exams and marking guidelines.

UniServe Science - Physics - The Cosmic Engine has a detailed set of links for the syllabus arranged according to topic. It is also worth looking at their Stage 6 Sciences and Physics pages for support material. This is an excellent place tostart.

Cosmic Engine

A-Level Assistance for Cosmology and Astrophysics is designed to support English students studying matriculation Physics. Many of the links are relevant to the NSW Cosmic Engine module whilst others support 9.7 Astrophysics option and the Relativity component of 9.2 Space core module.

Astronomy is a commercial site that provides an extensive set of annotated links to a large number of sites sorted by topic.

Astronomy 162: Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology provides a comprehensive set of pages arranged by topic from the University of Tennessee. Information is concise and supported by tables, data and images.

Astronomy HyperText Book from the University of Oregon includes descriptions, diagrams and animations for a range of related topics.

Astronomy Notes is an extensive online textbook in astronomy by Nick Strobel. It contains 17 chapters covering most facets of astronomy plus detailed appendices. The pages include clear diagrams and some animations. Highly recommended.

Australian Astronomy is the official portal for all aspects of astronomy in Australia. Has sections for professionals, amateurs, education and the public.

Bob Emery's 8.5 Cosmic Engine is a detailed set of notes, useful diagrams and links from an experienced teacher that have been written specifically for the NSW course.

Center for the History of Physics - American Institute of Physics has the Emilio Segre

Cool Cosmos: Cosmic Reference Guide is an educational site focusing on infrared astronomy. It has some excellent pages on astronomical imaging, celestial objects, electromagnetic radiation and space-based astronomy listed by category. Worth exploring.

Cosmos - The SAO Encyclopedia is an excellent online encyclopedia of astronomy and astrophysics developed to support the Swinburne Astronomy Online course in Asutralia. Entries are listed alphabetically, searchable and accompanied by clear diagrams and links to other terms. Highly Recommended.

Cosmic Engine Links is a set of links, arranged by topic from a school site.

ESO/ESA Astronomy Exercise Series has a set of four activities, background material and an essential toolkit available for download as large PDF files. They emphasis distance measurement as well as photometry, use of HR diagrams, cluster ages and other concepts from the syllabus. Developed for European schools they are available in several languages.

Fred Watson, Astronomer Masterclass is a site developed by the Centre for Learning Innovation by the NSW Department of Education and Training. It has a series of video segments presented by Dr Fred Watson, Astronomr in charge of the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring in NSW where he is questioned by a group of secondary students. Fred discusses telescopes, stellar evolution, working as an astronomer and even performs a song of his. The segments are fully text accessible. The material is supported with curriculum links and other resources. It is specifically developed for the NSW senior Physics syllabus but is valuable for other states as well.

Frequently Asked Questions in Astronomy is a compilation, arranged by topic, of FAQs on the sci.astro newsgroup. Answers are written by a range of authors including many professional astronomers.

Frequently Asked Questions in Cosmology is from Ned Wright's excellent astrophysics site. It has a range of common questions with useful and effective answers.

From Stargazers to Starships is an excellent and detailed site by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that covers the astronomy of Earth's motion through space, Netwonian mechanics and Kepler, the Sun and spaceflight. It also has sections on relevant mathematics and other links. The whole site can be downloaded as a tarred and zipped file.

History of astronomy - Wikipedia is a useful overview article by a free online encyclopedia.

Hot Big Bang is the Cambridge Cosmology group's site on the standard model. It provides a clear explanation of the observational evidence upon which the standard model rests, a history of observational cosmology, a brief history of the Universe and also discusses the shortcomings of the standard model. This is an excellent resource for senior students.

HSC The Cosmic Engine is a useful site by Michael Burton at UNSW. Each syllabus point has a brief explanation or discussion. It also includes links and ideas for demonstrations.

HyperPhysics Concepts. HyperPhysics is an excellent resource covering a range of areas in Physics including astrophysics and cosmology. The main page starts with an interactive concept map. As you click on a theme or concept you can drill down into more detail until you come to short information boxes. These include diagrams where appropriate and are linked to related concepts.

IMSA Astrophysics has a range of detailed online material and activities to support astrophysics at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a high school specializing in science.

IOP - Teaching Advanced Physics - Astronomy is aimed at new teachers but provides useful points for teaching and understanding key concepts in astrophysics and cosmology. Prepared by the UK's Institute of Physics.

IPS - Radio and Space Services is the Australian Government organisation responsible for monitoring the Sun and providing space weather forecasts. They have a lot of useful information available from their education page.

Learning from Light Educational Home Page is a detailed site tackling how we investigate the Universe by analysing light. It includes spectroscopy, photometry and distance measurements.

Starry Messenger is part of the Electronic History of Astronomy developed in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge. It has pages on many of key ancient and Renaissance astronomers plus details about instruments and techniques. Detailed and useful.

Stars and Constellations by Professor Jim Kaler has a wealth of material including details on individual stars. His Spectra site is also linked from here. It is an essential site for a concise but comprehensive coverage of stellar spectra written by the author of key textbooks on the subject.

Windows to the Universe is a vast site developed by NASA and other institutions with extensive material on stellar astrophysics at a range of depth. It includes numerous animations.

Software and Applets

Celestia: A 3D Space Simulator is an outstanding free software package with a wealth of add-ons. It is a multi-platform package (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix) that allows you to visualise our Solar System and galaxy using real astronomical data. You can "fly" to other stars, visit the planets and even piggybank on any of the current or planned spaceprobes. Excellent educational add-ons and interactive learning documents including one on stellar evolution are available from another site here.

Colgate University Astronomy - Useful Astronomy Applets has links to a number of different applets arranged by topic.

Project CLEA allows you to download free programs and manuals that allow you to simulate observing, obtaining and analysing data. Includes relevant ones on The Hubble Redshift-Distance Relation, Large-Scale Structure of the Universe, Spectral Classification of Stars, Solar Rotation and the Flow of Energy Out of the Sun. These are excellent simulations that utilise real data.

SkyView Virtual Observatory is an online facility generating images of any part of the sky at wavelengths in all regimes from Radio to Gamma-Ray.

Virtual Laboratory Physics Applets from University of Oregon has eighteen astronomy applets on spectroscopy, photometry, orbital mechanics and cosmology in addition to other Physics topics.


Anglo-Australian Observatory Images has a wealth of images including those taken by renowned astrophotographer, David Malin. The images are arranged by object type with thumbnails available.

Astronomy Picture of the Day provides a daily astronomy image with detailed caption and links. previous images are archived and arranged by type.

Browsing Astronomical Images on the Web provides links and details about a range of different professional sources of images and interactive surveys. The page is administered by the Telescope Data Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Harvard University.

HubbleSite - NewsCenter is the source for images and information about the discoveries made with the Hubble Space Telescope.