Beyond the Internet: Awesome Astronomy Websites

Category: Astronomy

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...

Explore the Universe With 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. One recent image shows NGC 3344, a beautiful spiral galaxy just 20 million light-years away. there's an extensive archive going back several years.

Stellarium is a free planetarium for your computer, the same software being used in planetarium projectors. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

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. Even though Pluto is no longer an "official" planet, the site retains the name it started with in 1994.

Astronomy websites

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 projects and publications, the Society plays a leading role in creating innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds. The organization is supported by over 50,000 members in over 100 countries, and by hundreds of volunteers around the world.

Galaxy Map focuses on our home galaxy, the Milky Way. You'll find maps, images, and a guide to the Milky Way. The Milky Way Explorer is a Google maps interface, that shows what our galaxy would like if we had the eyes to perceive the sky at infrared, microwave and radio frequencies, and what our galaxy might look like from an interstellar spaceship.

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. You'll also learn about spherics, tweeks and whistlers. 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...

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Most recent comments on "Beyond the Internet: Awesome Astronomy Websites"

Posted by:

Ken Mitchell
13 Apr 2018

I would also recommend The Sun affects the Earth in a number of ways, and this site focuses on the ways that the solar weather can interact with the Earth and our own weather.

Also has a great aurora photo gallery.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2018

‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ website is and has been my go-to homepage for every web browser in every computing device I have owned. It is my equivalent of Linus' Blanket (Peanuts comics) which gives me that comfort feeling that all is still well in the universe.
[IMHO] Planetarium software/apps are about the most useful tools anyone can add to their smartphones and GPS-enabled tablets. Just by pointing your device to any light source in the night sky is all it takes to identify what you are looking at. Most of these apps are totally free and/or OpenSource (even @ F-Droid repository).

Posted by:

13 Apr 2018

Thank you so much for the links! There is nothing more beautiful than exploring the universe.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2018

If you follow @elakdawalla of the Planetary Society on Twitter, or point your browser to if you're not on Twitter, you'll get lots of up-to-the-minute news on astronomy & space exploration. She also delves occasionally into politics, science advocacy and human rights advocacy, as well as into crafts (including geeky space-related crafts).

Posted by:

13 Apr 2018

"Just" 20 million light years away. LOL.

Posted by:

Jay R
13 Apr 2018

Haven't you heard, Paul. Google is working on both cryosleep and FTL. Soon, 200 million light years will seem trivial. I can't wait to see what people are going to post on FarceBook next century.

And a note to Bob. Thank you for writing about a subject I have some familiarity with. My brother-in-law introduced me to the NASA site a long time ago.

Posted by:

14 Apr 2018

Wow, how nice to have an article on a really positive topic for a change. They seem to be so few and far between these days.

Posted by:

15 Apr 2018

It is so nice to see that several of Bob's followers like space and the celestial beings. I have loved space and universal things, since I was a child. I have used celestial pictures for my desktop wallpaper, for years.

In the past, I have used a planetary program, the and of course, NASA for information. When a person has kids or grandkids these site do come in handy. }:O)

Posted by:

23 Apr 2018

I've been acquainted with NASA's site since around 1995. Used several of its images as background for my various machines. The archives are INCREDIBLE. I absolutely love looking at the wonders of our universe - many hours of entertainment, and bookmarks, coming up from those links. Thank you!

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