Elementary Astronomy

A Simple Reference Guide
to Common Celestial Phenomena

a book by 
Dr. James N. Pierce
Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Note: The original publisher subtitled the first printing of Elementary Astronomy as "A Simple Reference Guide to Our Solar System". In the second printing, this was modified to "A Simple Reference Guide to Common Celestial Phenomena", which more accurately reflects the contents. Aside from a few corrections, the two versions are identical. Images depicted here are from the second printing.


Elementary Astronomy is a book written specifically for teachers (and parents) of students in grades K-6. The astronomy topics it covers are those most commonly found in these grade levels: Earth and Sun; night and day; seasons; phases of the Moon; eclipses; the solar system; planets; the night sky; constellations. Also included are explanations of other terms and phenomena necessary to understand these topics, such as gravity, orbits, rotation, revolution, shadows, equinoxes, solstices, and star trails.

No prior knowledge of astronomy is required; the book is intended as a self-contained tutorial for those wishing to learn the basics of everyday astronomy. Although it contains enough numbers to serve as a convenient reference for data on planets and other bodies, Elementary Astronomy is not heavy on mathematics. Most of the material is presented using explanatory text and simple sketches.

Elementary Astronomy will be especially useful to

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I have revised Elementary Astronomy, correcting changes made by the first editors and updating content as needed.
The new Elementary Astronomy is now available for FREE download.

Back to Dr. James Pierce's home page.

Created March 15, 2000; last modified March 19, 2021
Send comments or suggestions to James Pierce - james.pierce@mnsu.edu