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Basics of Celestial Motion

About This Site

Website Author

S. E. Scruggs is a student in the Graduate Certificate in Instructional Technology (CIT) Program at Boston University's School of Education. She holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and is currently employed as an optical data analyst working in the field of space surveillance. The idea for creating the Basics of Celestial Motion grew out of the web author's realization that she held many of the same misconceptions about the seasons, the phases of the moon, and celestial magnitudes that are described and countered in this website.

Website Purpose

Basics of Celestial Motion was created as the final design project for the course "Internet and WWW for Educators" (SED EM 610 OL) as part of the requirements for the CIT program. The website has been constructed primarily as a demonstration of educational website design, although its instructional intent is to "combat" the three popular misconceptions that many people, from school children to highly educated professionals, hold about how the motion of the Earth, Sun and the Moon affect how we experience our world.

For those interested in learning more about common astronomy misconceptions and various instructional "interventions" that have been proposed to combat them at the secondary school and college levels, three interesting online resources provide additional insight and information:

  • Bailey, Janelle and Timothy Slater, "A Review of Astronomy Education Research", Astronomy Education Review, Volume 2, Sep 2003-Jan 2004, issue 2.

  • Sadler, Philip M., "The Initial Knowledge State of High School Astronomy Students", Unpublished Dissertation (PDF), Harvard University Graduate School of Education, 1992.

  • Prather, Edward E., Timothy F. Slater, Jeffrey P. Adams, Janelle M. Bailey, Lauren V. Jones, Jack A. Dostal, "Research on a Lecture-Tutorial Approach to Teaching Introductory Astonomy for Non-Science Majors", Astronomy Education Review, Volume 3, Oct 2004-Apr 2005, issue 2.
Many of the images created by the author were fashioned after exercises used in "Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy" created by Jeffery P. Adams, Edward Prather and Timothy Slater and the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education (CAPER) Team, Prentice Hall Series in Educational Innovation, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003. These exercises were designed to teach fundamental astronomy concepts to non-science majors at the college level, and have been proven to be effective in counteracting many commonly held misconceptions about astronomy.

Website Mechanics

This website was created entirely using HTML coding and without the use of any website design software. The primary text font employed is century gothic and all images were obtained from public domain websites, "free use" image websites and Microsoft's clip art gallery. The astronomy content was researched from various online and print resources which are indicated in the references page.


Users are free to link to this website, however no text content may be reproduced or posted elsewhere without the author's written permission. Single print copies of website material may be made for personal or educational use. Any reference to material contained in Basics of Celestial Motion should cite the web author, S. E. Scruggs and web address (URL) Images from external sources should not be downloaded directly from this website, but may be obtained from their original websites as indicated on the image usage page. Other images created by the web author may be used elsewhere if proper credit is given and a link is made to the website home page.


Users are encouraged to provide feedback on the material contained herein. The web author may be contacted atEmail Address

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