The Best Astronomy Websites
Attention Stargazers... If you're an amateur astronomer, or you just enjoy looking up into the night sky, the Internet is full of resources for you. For the best star pictures, astronomy websites, user groups and telescope reviews, read on.
Online Astronomy Resources
Our first stop along the celestial highway is NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. It features a high quality image with a description of its significance written by a professional astronomer in clear, easy to understand terms. Recent images (as of this writing) were Sun Pillar Over Ontario and Seasonal Dark Streaks on Mars. If you miss one, don't worry, there's an extensive archive going back several years.
Astronomy For Kids is a great site for kids to learn about the night sky. In the Sky Maps section, you can find out what's going on in the sky this month. (Hey, there's a solar *and* lunar eclipse coming soon!) The Sky Wonders section teaches about some of the most awe-inspiring and thought-provoking objects that are in the Universe. You'll also find Constellations, tips and resources for Beginners, and email Postcards you can send to your friends.
In a similar vein, The Nine Planets is an overview of the history, mythology and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, and links to related information.
The Planetary Society, the world's largest space-interest group, is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. Through our projects and publications, the Society plays a leading role in creating innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds.
Here's a site aimed at amateur astronomers interested in satellite orbits. Did you know there are 100+ satellites orbiting the Earth, and many can be seen with the naked eye? Heavens Above will generate predictions about satellites that will be passing overhead for a particular evening, so you can keep watch as they zoom along in their orbits.
More Celestial Sights... and Sounds!
At Space Sounds, you can listen to the history of the space program. Hear actual NASA ground and spacecraft communications from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle missions.
SPACE.com modestly bills itself as "the world's No. 1 source for news of astronomy, skywatching, space exploration, commercial spaceflight and related technologies." The site employs a team of professional reporters, editors and video producers to explore the latest discoveries, missions, and futuristic ideas. You'll find the latest happenings about the shuttle, NASA, and the space station; along with intriguing articles about space, astronomy and our place in the universe.
Celestia4All provides astronomy enthusiasts of all ages a growing treasury of tools, information, animations, experiences, inspiration and fun! This site aims to bridge the gap between astronomy enthusiasts who are passionate about "real sky observing" with their telescopes, and those who would rather just simulate events on their computers. Immerse yourself in a 3D universe, and journey with starting realism to stars, planets, galaxies and over 100 globular clusters!
Ever throught about joining an Astronomy Club? Astronomy clubs frequently offer discounts on astronomy related magazines and other printed material, loaner telescopes, and practical advice on how to get started in the hobby of Astronomy. Check out this list of clubs which covers the whole world:
Try reading sci.astro.amateur. Here, amateur astronomers from all over the world, some with a wealth of expertise, hang out, ask questions and discuss diverse astronomy topics. Quite a few of the posts deal with purchasing the right astronomical telescope or the right equipment to go along with it. This newsgroup is also another source of late breaking news, on comets, meteor showers, and aurorae.
Got a favorite astronomy site? Post your comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Aug 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Best Astronomy Websites (Posted: 18 Aug 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved