Astronomy Education in the Pensacola Area 

Resources for  Elementary School Educators

There are several courses offered in the Pensacola area for those interested in studying astronomy, and resource packets for area elementary teachers who are seeking resources for the astronomy section of their science curriculum.
These courses range from beginning astronomy for the general public to courses designed to meet various required curriculum criteria for state colleges and universities.

Pensacola State College (formerly Pensacola Junior College), offers a distance learning course in Descriptive Astronomy, course code AST 1002.
PSC (Pensacola State College...formerly Pensacola Junior College), besides offering courses for local students, also offers a distance learning course for those who live outside of the Pensacola area, including military stationed outside of the United States.
For a preview of listed Pensacola State College courses, go to and go down to Online Courses right under the Login area.  All courses offered for the semester will be listed as either Distance Learning or Hybrid (part in-class and part online). 

The University of West Florida offers an in-class overview astronomy course, Modern Astronomy, course code AST 3033.
For a list of University of West Florida courses, visit for curriculum information.

For Resources for Elementary Educators, access:

Resource Directory for Elementary Educators 

If you would like a teacher's packet of astronomical information and activities that may be done in the classroom, you may send a request to:

Dr. Wayne Wooten

c/o Physical Sciences Department

Pensacola StateCollege

Pensacola, Florida 32504

or, you may use the e-mail or voice mail listings on the EAAA Home Page to request a packet.

If you send a SASE, please send a large 9" x 12" mailing envelope.

Star Charts are often available at Ft. Pickens stargazes during the summer months.

Links from the following table offer course information on the various astronomy courses offered by both Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida.  Teacher Training Sessions, however, are not listed here.

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Astronomical Observation for Beginners

This course, developed by Draco Productions, is offered through Pensacola Junior College's Continuing Education program.   It is designed for adults who would like to learn how to use and care for astronomical equipment that they already have, and for those who are planning to invest in their first telescope or binoculars.  There are hands-on activities, and plenty of resource materials that will aid your observational skills, either naked-eye, or with any astronomical instrument. 
Registration information may be accessed through the PJC Continuing Education Department:

The course information and curriculum for Astronomical Observation for Beginners is as follows: 

Course Material Requirements:
Astronomical Observation Kit + Syllabus ($25.00)
Kodak KodaColor Film (one 24-exposure roll)
One VHS tape
Dr. J. Wayne Wooten PJC Voice Mail (484-1152)
"Ask the Astronomers" questions-Mail to:

Course Curriculum:

Session I

Classroom Lecture/Introduction:
The Importance of Keeping Observation Logs
Overview of all pack materials
Definitions of Observational Terminology
Discussion of Astronomical Sketches in Logs
Observing Certificate Programs
          Session II    

Astronomical Instruments:
 Care and Use
(How to clean and maintain astronomical equipment, and how to observe using various optical instruments and charts).

Session III

Computer Lab Session: Sky Map Shareware (floppy disc)
(How to use your free copy of this "planetarium" software, and how to print out star charts).

Session IV

Solar Observation
Lunar Observation
Session V

General Planetary Observation
Saturn Observation (in season)
Night Sky Observation

Session VI

Beginning Astrophotography


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Descriptive Astronomy AST 1005


Registration information for Pensacola Junior College Courses may be found at:

Traditional Lecture Course Description:

AST 1005 is the code for: Descriptive Astronomy, (3-hours, 3 Course Credits)

This course is a study of the celestial sphere, constellations, time, telescopes, the properties of light, the solar system, and an introduction to stars and galaxies. A working knowledge of arithmetic and simple (High School level) algebra is required. This course meets Associate of Arts General Education Category VII.

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 Distance Learning Descriptive Astronomy AST 1005

If you are interested in taking an astronomy course for fun or for credit, you may be interested in taking the basic Astronomy course taught by Dr. John Wayne Wooten. Besides the classroom course, two other astronomy courses are also available,  - the Astronomy Telecourse and the Astronomy Lab Course offered for Distance Learning. These courses are also available for those who are out-of-area residents. Information on registering for them is available at the following site:

or, phone PJC Distance Learning Center at 1-850-484-1238.

These courses fulfill one of the two required science credits for the general AA Degree in the Junior College program. The coursework for both of these courses (3 hour credits) is also transferable to upper level institutions. If, because of work or family duties, you don't have the time to physically attend classes, independent study courses are invaluable boons to education.

The astronomy correspondence course is also of benefit to anyone interested in amateur astronomy as a hobby, in that it gives you a general education in astronomical science as well as observational tips. A hobby built upon a general knowledge of the hobby subject is so much more rewarding than sporadic efforts to participate in areas that are unfamiliar.

Lab Course Description:

AST 1005L  is a one-hour lab, optional to accompany AST 1005 or AST 1005T.  It is offered over the Internet, and meets PJC's general lab science requirement.  A preliminary orientation session is offered during the first week of class at the Pensacola Junior College Main Campus.  

For more information, go to:

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Telecourse Description:

AST 1005T is the code for the telecourse: Universe: The Infinite Frontier

This telecourse is an introductory astronomy course where students can explore the planets, the stars, and all that lies beyond. It covers four major content areas: Exploring the Sky; The Stars; The Universe of Galaxies, and Planets in Perspective. The programs incorporate footage from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and observatories around the world. Original, state-of-the-art animation and computer graphics illustrate fundamental principles and concepts of astronomy.

For out-of-area students who cannot view the lessons on WSRE-TV, tapes may be rented. The source for tape rental (prices may vary, but average around $60.00 per semester) is:

RMI Media Production, Inc. / 1365 North Winchester Street / Olathe, Kansas 66061 / Phone 1-800-745-5840, or FAX 1-800-755-6910.

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University of West Florida Astronomy Course

Admissions/Registration information may be found at:

Modern Astronomy AST 3033

This course meets the general science requirement for non-science majors. It is a popular elective featuring night observation on the roof of Building 13 at UWF using many telescopes. The course covers the history of astronomy, tools of the astronomer, the solar system, the sun and other stars, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and theories in modern cosmology. Introductory level algebra is sufficient for all math used in the course.

Students learn telescope construction and astrophotography techniques. Constellation identification and major navigational star identification is another course practical. Modern astronomy stresses new developments and controversial ideas in current astronomical research. Much use is made of Internet resources in astronomy. The course includes optional readings on current topics in astronomy, as well as astronomical software exercises for extra credit.

For more information about this course, go to:

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