This Nuffield Physics Background Book on astronomy uses a narrative to guide the reader through the development of theory in astronomy, from early ideas and Greek astronomy, through to the work of Kepler and Newton. Many hand-drawn diagrams are used to illustrate the concepts and suggestions for student activities are given – for example, making an estimate of the Moon’s size and distance.
The book covers Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation, and includes a list of outcomes from Newton’s theory. A list of historical attempts to measure the gravitational constant, G, are given. The appendices include how to make simple models of the night sky, a scale drawing of a satellite orbit and a derivation of centripetal acceleration.