There are four great methods that you may not know about–all Free and ready-to-use in classroom inquiry into our Universe:
This is a free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy to a large catalog of stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and spacecraft. If that’s not enough, you can download dozens of easy to install add-ons with more objects.
Google teamed up with astronomers at some of the largest observatories in the world to bring you a new view of the sky. This tool provides an exciting way to browse and explore the universe. You can find the positions of the planets and constellations on the sky and even watching the birth of distant galaxies as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. You can view it online or as a free download with Google Earth.
Developed in conjunction with NASA and JAXA, you can view take tours of landing sites, narrated by Apollo astronaut, view 3D models of landed spacecraft, zoom into 360-degree photos to see astronauts’ footprints, and watch rare TV footage of the Apollo missions. You can also access Google Moon via Google Earth with a download
Internet-based exploration of Mars. In collaboration with NASA researchers at Arizona State University, Google created some of the most detailed scientific maps of Mars ever made. You can view regions of Mars, spacecraft, Mars stories. You can also view Mars via Google Earth with a quick download.