Skip to Main Content

Science: Astronomy / Space Science

An overview of resources to get you started in studying or researching science topics.

Astronomy / Space science

"For everyone, as I think, must see that astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another."

— Plato, Greek philosopher

According to an article appearing in the November 19, 2013 edition of The Atlantic, there are roughly 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe.  These stars have been the source of awe and inspiration ever since the dawn of time.  Our own sun is just one of these stars, and is the source of life-sustaining energy and light, without which we would cease to be.  This guide is focused on the study of these stars as well as other celestial bodies and the means by which we one day may reach them. 

Search Tips

1) Start with an overview for your topic.  For example, you can start with an encyclopedia such as Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference Library (see list of BPL resources below) to get a basic idea of what your topic is all about.

2) Once you have a general idea of what your topic is about, you can narrow your topic down by subcategory, such as "Astrobiology" or "Stellar Astronomy" under "Astronomy."

3) Search for more information on your topic, using journal article databases, government websites organization websites etc.  A good place to start is the Science in Context database which includes reference resources, experiments, statistics, magazine and academic journal articles, news articles, maps, multimedia,and external websites.

Different types of information that you can look for include:

  • Overview -- General description or outline of a topic
  • Statistics -- Collection of quantitative data
  • Evidence -- A visible sign of a phenomenon; something which demonstrates that a phenomenon or theory exists or is true
  • Guides -- "How-to" instructions or an outline of how to do something
  • News Articles -- Article from a newspaper or other news source; good source of current and local information and can be considered a primary source
  • Blogs -- Website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
  • Journal Articles -- Article from a magazine or academic journal
  • Multimedia -- Videos, photographs, or audio resources
  • Reports -- Official documents from the government or other institution that give information about a particular subject
  • Interviews -- Reporting of meetings at which information is obtained from a person

For more information on conducting research on a topic, see from Case Western Reserve University.


Online Astronomy Resources

These links provide access to government and other reports, statistics,  and current developments for high school and college students as well as anyone interested in astronomy and other space sciences.


Hubble Telescope site
Includes a photo gallery, videos,  discoveries, and news of NASA's Hubble Telescope.  

International space agencies and US agencies

Listing of international space agencies and US agencies involved in aeronautics and space research.

Space Telescope Science Institute
Includes history, news releases, photographs and movies, educational activities, and a directory of Internet resources for research astronomers.

National Air and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA is the government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

NASA -- International Space Station
Information about the Space Station and cooperation between the countries involved with the Station.

NASA Science
Astronomy information for "citizen scientists," educators, teens, and kids from NASA.

National Science Foundation
Provides access to research, discoveries, and news in astronomy and space.

Planetariums in Massachusetts
Includes research and development, technical reports, journal citations, databases, federal websites, and fact sheets.

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

The Old Farmer's Almanac - Astronomy
A guide to the almanac's astronomy and astrology information for the year.


Resources at the Boston Public Library

The catalog for the Boston Public Library is available at

Suggested subject headings:


For assistance with searching and locating items held by the Boston Public Library and other libraries in the Metro Boston Library Network, see