Observing

Software

*  Indicates freeware

Aberrator *  Win 95-98 software program that will allow you to generate star testing images to show aberrations and how they affect your telescope performance. Also offers Registax imaging software.
AstroArt 3.0  Win 98-2000 XP Astroart 3.0 is a software program for advanced  image processing, photometry, astrometry, CCD control and image stacking for CCD and film images. Includes CCD camera control, multi-tasking capabilities, real-time focus, and web cam auto guide, multiple plug-ins. Star catalogs (GSC, USNO SA1.0, SA2.0 or USNO A2.0).
AstroCalculator  Win 95-XP calculator program for general Time and Astronomical Calculations, Conversions and Corrections. Also provides precessions, Lunar data, Solar system data, Planar Sundial. Printed manual & electronic manual (PDF).
Astro Info  Astro Info is a free open-source astronomical ephemeris/almanac for PalmOS 3.0 – 5.0. It displays basic information useful to star gazers, such as rise, trans and set times, coordinates, magnitude and phase information for Sun, Moon, the other 8 planets and stars. It also features a rotatable and zoomable map. Nightmode on Palm Color Screens.
AstroMB  For PC’s Win 95-XP Astronomy software SAO, GCVS, NGC catalogs. The Guide Star Catalog, the USNO catalog, Hipparcos and Tycho 1and Tycho 2 catalogs are also supported.
Astrometrica   For PC’s Win 95-XP  Interactive software tool for scientific research grade astrometric data reduction of CCD images, developed by amateur astronomer Herbert Raab. Current version is for the Windows 32bit operating system. Reads FITS & SBIG image files. Features Automatic image calibration, zoom & “Magnifying glass” for close up, automatic reference for star identification, and several other features. Catalogs include USNO-B 1.0, USNO-A 2.0, USNO-SA 2.0, ESA Hipparcos & Tycho catalogs. Web site offers full download of the Shareware program, user support via a mailing list, list of current Astrometrica users, and Minor Planet discoveries.
Astromist  PalmOs Astronomy Tool for Palm users, designed by Cyrille Thieullet . Provides up to 2.5million of stellar and 18200 deep sky objects. It controls most of the telescope drives available (meade, celestron, takahasi, losmandy, Astrophysic, ouranos, bbox, ) and provides GPS support. Scope Assistant to control your scope using palm keys. A Bluetooth to serial converter is mandatory. A special southern hemisphere version of Astromist (with inverted moon pictures) is available for registered users.
Astronomica  Win 95-XP planetarium software. Orrery that simulates the solar system, a sundial/moon dial, print customizable star charts, view control palette to set observing time & location, help center. Also available for Mac users.
AstroPack III  (Shareware) Astronomy software for PalmOS 3 or higher, consisting of J-Moons, Moon Info, Saturn and Sol II, developed by Edward Wilborne III. Downlaodable from website. Updates, news, and links available on website.
AstroPlanner  Software application for Macintosh and Windows, providing astronomical visual observation planning and logging as well as control of Meade telescopes that use the LX200, LX200GPS or Autostar controllers, Celestron NexStar scopes, Astro-Physics GTO mounts, the Vixen SkySensor 2000 system, and several others. Use on Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, Win 98-2000/XP. Basic installation requires 15MB hard disk space, the full installation (all catalogues) requires about 120MB of hard disk space. Users group (Yahoo) available.
AstroStack *  Win 98-XP imaging software to enhance pictures made by CCD and or videocapturing developed by Robert J. Stekelenburg. The full program & manual are available to download from the web site. Features include details of Preview & load frames, frame quality, stack frames, combine frame to picture, enhancement, and status. Web site includes support and a discussion forum for AstroStack users.
C2A  Win 95-XP C2A (Computer Aided Astronomy) is a Planetarium software that allows you to build detailed views of stellar fields, in order to prepare observations on small fields as well as astrometry works. C2A is able to access several catalogues: SAO, Guide Star, Tycho-2, USNO-SA1.0, USNO-A2.0 and UCAC1. Download and Help files only available in French! Version 2.0.8 original is English.
CalSky *  Windows 95-XP. Astronomical calendar, sun & moon phases, create star charts, deep sky objects.
Cartes du Ciel *  Linux or Windows. Very popular program created by Patrick Chevalley, allows you to create your own sky charts, making use of the data in 16 catalogs of stars and nebulae. In addition the position of planets, asteroids and comets are shown. Includes updates, FAQ’s, documentation, and related links. Yahoo group available for support.
Celestia *  Celestia is a real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Contains a lesson plan for use in the classroom available from Celestia web site.
CoolSky  Win 95-XP  Sky charts, display photographic images, 110 Messier objects, easy to use interface, find stars to 6.5 magnitude.
Dan’s Astronomy Software *  Free PC software for the amateur astronomer, educators. Several software programs available, Jovian moons, satellites of Saturn, Eclipsing binary stars, Tracker v6.0 for visualizing natural features on Jupiter. Large assortment of other free astronomy programs also available.
DarkAdapted *  Win/Mac Software for Win 95-XP Mac Power Macintosh. Program from Stephen E. Hutson to help preserve your dark adaptation. Controls your screen gamma settings so that you can use your computer while observing with out disturbing your dark adapted vision. Also available from American Dream software, ScopeDriver ( Computer control of Meade or Gemini Telescopes), UTC (displays Universal Time on your Mac), The Sky Tonight ( Astronomy Radio Program), Meteor Shower Radiant Databases (Data sets for use with Starry Night Pro 3.x) all available for download from web site.
David Paul Green *  Win/Mac/Palm software for logging your observations and finding Messier Objects. Excellent programs by Mr. Green include TUMOL: The Ultimate Messier Object Log, TSOL The Simple Observing Log, OOLog (Overlooked Object Log). Also an eyepiece calculator.
Deep Sky Astronomy Software  Created by Steven Tuma DAS for Win 98-XP. For Meade & Telestar telescopes. DVD version includes 410,000 images of deep sky objects, CD version includes 10,000 images of deep sky objects. Observing planner, observers logbook, star charts down to magnitude 15.5, Solar system information, image processing, ASCOM telescope support for GOTO scopes.
Deep Sky Map by David Chandler  Deep Space comes on a CD-ROM that contains the 250,000 star NASA Skymap database, the 18-million star Guide Star Catalog, the Saguaro Deep Sky database with about 10,000 objects, and about 10,000 asteroids and comets.
Desktop Universe  Win 95-XP, NT software from Main Sequence Software. Available in a 2 CD-ROM set. Features over 1 million stars from a variety of catalogs including Messier, NGC, IC, LBN, and others.
Digital Universe  For Mac platforms, Windows version soon to be released. View and retrieve extensive information on any of the approximately 20 million objects, including stars, galaxies, nebulae, clusters, the planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, and Earth orbiting spacecraft and satellites. Contains two software packages, “Digital Universe”, and ” 3D Stars”.
Distant Suns *  Win 95-XP, and Mac. Desktop astronomy, star charts, in-depth planet information, database of over 16 million stars.
Encyclopedia Galactica  Freeware planetarium program Win 98-XP by Javier Martínez. You can create of different types of sky maps in which practically any element is customizable. You need to download several large files to run the program. Program is more suited to beginning observers who would like to try out a free program. Some problems have been noted with downloads.
Home Planet *  Win 95-XP comprehensive astronomy, space, and satellite-tracking package. Sky map, telescope window, object catalog, orrery,  satellite tracking panel, and satellite database.
HNSKY Program *  Win 95-XP,  planetarium program. Contains  SAO, PPM, Tycho-2 star databases, up to date deep sky database containing 26000 objects , USNO CDROM databases. Telescope control using the universal ASCOM package,  Realsky viewer.
HyperSky  Win 95-2000 detailed information on many deep sky objects. Several star catalog databases including, Bayer, Flamsteed, and SAO.Optional Hypersky CD Rom available. Complete online support.
Izzy’s Skylog *  Win 95-98, Palm . Vol. 1 is freeware. Designed to teach the beginning backyard astronomer the constellations. Constellation maps, pronunciation guide, Mythological backgrounds, Prominent deep-sky objects. Other miscellaneous information.
Luna View *  Available as downloadable software. “Point & Click” graphical lunar globe. Mare labels, crater names, image maps with supporting text. The current phase of the moon can be see in the remote control monitor window while rise and set times can viewed from a selection of capital cities around the world. There is also a detailed database referencing lunar surface features and history behind the names.
Lunar Globe  Win 95-XP Lunar Globe is a “Virtual Museum of Lunar Vehicles”. Lets you view the Moon surface features and lunar vehicles (computer animation). The database contains 1,400 craters, and provides “Orbit Mode” views 4700 km. from the lunar surface, “Pen-Point Mode” interactive crater information, and “Survey Mode” explore Lunar vehicles on the Moons surface.
Lunar Phase Pro by Gary Nugent  Win 98/ME/NT/2000/XP LunarPhase Pro is a moon observer’s toolkit which provides a range of information on the Moon and, to a lesser degree, the Sun, graphically displaying the current phase of the moon (in real time).
MacAstronomica  MacAstronomica requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. Program generates sky maps at any time, from anywhere on Earth. The maps show all the planets and stars visible to the naked eye, as well as some galaxies and nebulas, the Ecliptic, meteor showers and the Milky Way. Constellations are drawn in their traditional form, and a table lists the visible objects. MacAstronomica also features an Orrery that simulates the solar system, a sundial/moon dial, print customized sky maps.
MacStronomy    MacStronomy  2.0 runs on any Apple® Macintosh or compatible computer with at least 2 megabytes of RAM, a hard disk, and Mac OS 9.x or Classic under OS X. MacStronomy displays maps of the stars and planets as they appear in the sky for any date, time, and location on the earth that you choose. Download free demo, full version includes an “Introduction to Astronomy”, with a glossary. $60. USD
Maestro *  From this web site offered by JPL at Cal Tech you can explore Mars with the same program that NASA scientists use to operate the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Download Maestro and look at Mars the way NASA does! This is a light version of the actual JPL software. Check the web site frequently for updates. Also available forums, online manual, and Maestro FAQ’s. A very educational way to view actual raw images from the rovers, and learn about the technology involved.
MegaStar Sky Atlas  Win 98-XP From Willmann-Bell. Professional star charts, night vision, SAO/HD/GSC/Flamsteed number, Bayer, Hipparcos, Tycho 1 & 2 catalogs. Over 208,000 deep sky objects. Solar system animation, accompanying photographs for 78,000 objects, display, eyepiece field of view for up to 20 eyepieces. Upgrades available from Willmann-Bell.
Meridian *  Win 95-XP free download from the web site. Simulates the position of planets in the sky. Provides visual magnitude, apparent diameters, and other features for the beginning amateur astronomer.
MODAS Optical Design  Win 95-98 NT software written by Ivan Krastev. MODAS (Modern Optical Design and Analysis Software) allows the user to design and evaluate the performance of various optical systems. The freeware version allows testing of four optical systems. Registered version provides tests of lens and mirror systems with up to 25 spherical, conic, or planar surfaces and perform unlimited ray tracing. Related links and support are available. Great resource for the ATM.
Planetarium  Interesting shareware for the Palm Connected Organizer that plots star charts, by Andreas Hofer. Runs on PalmOS 3.0 or higher. Runs well on PalmOS 5 devices. Supports High resolution displays. Compatible with computer controlled telescopes, and GPS. Memory requirement 144 KB minimum. Messier, Caldwell, and Herschel catalogs. Available in English, French and German.
PocketSat+ Is a full-featured satellite tracking application for PalmOS and PocketPC devicesby Jim Berry. PocketSat+ can track any satellite, and can display real-time plots of multiple satellites on both Earth maps and Sky charts. PocketPC download .6Mb, PalmOS 5. Also try LookAngles, a PalmOS application designed to help you locate geostationary satellites in the sky. If you know the latitude and longitude of your location it can be used from anywhere in the world. Within the United States you need only know the name of your location or a valid Zip Code. AstroCap a free webcam image capture software program.
RedShift 5  Win 95-XP Planetarium software available on CD-Rom. Tycho 2, Hipparcos, Hubble Guide Star Catalog, astronomy dictionary, sky diary, animated lecture on astronomy.
Registax*  Win 95-98 software for alignment, stacking, and processing of images. Very easy to use nice tools for amateur astronomers who want to improve their astrophotographs. Also available for PalmOS.
ScopeDriver  ScopeDriver is a planning, logging, and control interface for your telescope. Works with Meade Autostar, Meade LX200 &LX200 GPS, & Gemini command set. Does not work with Celestron products. For PC’s, Win 95-XP, & Mac’s. free 30 day demo available ($30 USD for full version), tech support, and links to related products also available.
SkyChart III  SkyChart III is provided on a single CD-ROM that contains versions for both Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP, and Mac OS 8/9/X.
An advanced planetarium program that accurately simulates and displays the sky as it appears in the present, or from thousands of years in the past or future. SkyChart III is also a telescope control program. The CD-ROM also contains high-resolution images of every major planet and moon in the solar system, plus data for thousands of star clusters and nebulae, nearly a million galaxies, and more than 19 million stars from the Hipparcos, Tycho-2, and Hubble Guide Star catalogs: all in all, nearly 20 million objects. SkyChart III has been selected by textbook publisher Prentice-Hall as the companion software for its college astronomy textbooks Astronomy: a Beginner’s Guide to the Universe, 4th edition, and Astronomy Today, 4th edition.
2Sky  Software  For PalmOS 2.0.5 or higher. A full planetarium program, uses Wolfgang Steineke’s corrected NGC/IC catalog, and the Hawaiian online sky atlas.
TheSky  Win 95-XP, NT planetarium and telescope control software from Software Bisque. Several versions available, also available for Mac users.
Skyglobe 4.0  Shareware planetarium software program from Villanova University.
Skyhound Win 95-XP Current events, nightly event planner, comprehensive database from 12 catalogs, fully integrated telescope control, print customizable
SkyMap Software
  Win 98-XP CD-Rom Planetarium and star chart software. Observing log, artificial satellites, solar & lunar eclipses, telescope control. Catalogs include, Tycho 2, Hipparcos, Yale Bright Star, GCVS, NGC, IC, SAC, and LEDA. Map overlays, library of telescope and eyepiece data.
Software & Data by Dave Ransom *  Win 95-2000 Freeware/shareware from Dave Ransom a member of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Please visit his informative web site, he has many links and provides an amazing service to the amateur astronomy community. Several downloadable programs available. STSPLUS used to track the space shuttle or any satellite. ASTROCLK  astronomical clock and celestial tracking program. ORBITEL is a utility program to verify, merge, and sort standard 2-line orbital elements files. JPLCLOCK  DOS program provides mission and event timers for deep space programs. Also ALM2TLE zip file by Geoffrey Hitchcock.
StarCalc Home Page *  Win 95-XP Planetarium and star mapping program. Based on common “Plugin StarCalc interface to catalogs and object groups”, which allows program to add new modules as Plugins available on the web site. Catalogs, Tycho 2, SAO, many useful features.
StarCats  Starcat freeware is a viewer for the Bright Star, Hipparcos and Tycho star catalogs for use under Windows or Linux, from Jim Campbell. In addition StarCat shows the position of the moon,sun and planets for any given time and location on Earth.
StarFinder *  StarFinder Planetarium software Win 95/98/Me/NT/2000 is Freeware for the beginning observer, displaying a whole-sky map of the stars, planets, Moon, Sun, and some deep sky objects for any date/time and latitude.
Stargazer’s Delight  PowerPC Mac (or iMac, G3, G4),Mac OS X (10.0.4) or higher. Stargazer’s Delight designed by Ruedi Schmid of Switzerland, shows you the sky, seen from any location on earth, more than 260,000 stars, planets, minor planets, galaxies, star clusters etc. All constellations and their boundaries, the phases of the moon, the apparent brightness of the planets, the length of day, the paths of the planets, animations of the sky, pictures of the planets, animated tutorials on selected astronomical questions and more.
Stella 2000  Win 95-XP 3 CD-Rom set includes Visual Planets and Dictionary of Astronomy. Observing log, customizable reports, print star charts.
Stellarium *  Stellarium is a free GPL software which renders realistic skies in real time with openGL. It is available for Linux/Unix, Windows and MacOSX. 120,000 Hipparcos stars, Planets and major Satellites in real time, all 88 constellations drawings and the mythological figures for each constellation, landscape visualizations, real time navigation and rendering to view objects, Nebulas, etc.
Terragen  Terragen is a scenery generator program for Win & Mac’s. Terragen allows the user to create photorealistic results for professional landscape visualization, special effects, art and recreation. Visit the Terragen gallery to view stunning imagery and movies. Web site provides support, FAQ’s, Yahoo Terragen group, and links to related information  You can download the basic version for free, or register to upgrade to the full version ($79.00 USD) Also visit Kees Veenenbos web site to view his dazzling creations using Terragen.
Virtual Moon Atlas *  Created by Patrick Chevalley, author of the freeware “Cartes du Ciel / Sky Charts”, and Christian Legrand. Win 95-XP. Virtual Moon Atlas can visualize the Moons surface for any date and time. Anyone who enjoys observing the moon will appreciate this excellent software. Version 2.0 is available in several languages and versions, including “Light” 2.1 (2.9 Mb), “Basic” (7.6MB), “Light,Basic & Expert”, (12.6Mb) levels. All three versions can be downloaded free from the web site. Highly recommended!
XEphem 3.5.2 *  Mac OS X  Solaris & Linux operating systems. Astronomical software.
WinStars * Win 95-XP, NT Planetarium and telescope control (Meade 200 LX and compatible). Uses BSC5 catalog, Sky2000 & Tycho2 catalogs, and SAC catalog.

 

Astronomy  Magazines/Journals

Amateur Astronomy Magazine
Astronomy & Space  Ireland
The Astronomer Online
Astronomy Magazine
Astronomy Now Magazine UK
Ceil & espace French
Chinese Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics
COELUM ASTRONOMIA  Italian
Mercury Magazine Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The Reflector published quarterly by the Astronomical League
Sky News Canada
Sky & Telescope Magazine
Sterne and Weltraum  German
Zenit Dutch (Netherlands & Belgium)



Books  *These are just a few of my favorites, most of the author’s mentioned have many other titles as well.

A Short History of Astronomy  Arthur Berry
A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings  Howard Hill

Atlas of the Moon Antonin Rukl  New edition is now available. Visit Sky & Telescope magazine to order.  * You can also purchase a large wall poster of the moon map & a companion 32 page booklet by Antonin Rukl at Sky & Telescope magazine. Go to their store link, look in the “maps” section.

Amateur Astronomer’s Handbook J. B. Sidgwick
Build Your Own Telescope  Richard Berry
Cambridge Astronomy Encyclopedias
Einstein The Life and Times Ronald W. Clark
Finder Charts of the Messier Objects Brent Watson
Magnificent Universe Ken Croswell
The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide Harvard Pennington
Nightwatch  Terence Dickinson
Our Cosmic Habitat Martin Rees
Pale Blue Dot Carl Sagan
Star Ware Phil Harrington
The Universe in a Nutshell  Stephen Hawking
The Whole Shebang Timothy Ferris
Turn Left at Orion Guy Consolmagno
    

 

Deep Sky Observing

Adventures In Deep Space by Jim Shields  Web site that features deep sky objects from Jim Shields, Dave Riddle, Steve Gottleib, Doug Snyder and others. Offers challenging object lists with tips for observing and the celestial position RA/Dec. for each object along with some historical information by the authors. Lists include the ARP catalog, Peculiar  Galaxies, Observing Galaxy Clusters, objects from the Abell Planetaries, and other lesser known objects. If you have a large aperture telescope you will find many exciting objects here to add to your observing log.
Arp’s Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies by Dennis Webb  Site features the ARP catalog of Peculiar Galaxies covering 338 peculiar galaxies observed by Dr. Alton C. Harp at Mt Palomar and Mt Wilson. The original Atlas was published in 1966. Site features detailed and organized lists of the objects along with a brief background on the history of Dr. Harp. Includes links to related web sites.
Astronomical League Binocular Messier Club  To qualify for the A.L.’s Binocular Messier Certificate, you need to be a member of the Astronomical League, and observe 50 or more Messier objects using only binoculars. The A.L. offers a suggested list of Messier objects to observe depending on the size of binoculars that you are using.
Astronomical League Binocular Deep Sky Club  The Deep Sky Binocular Club is a list of 60 selected non-Messier objects, the observing of these objects will enhance your appreciation of the Deep Sky as seen through binoculars. A difficult but not impossible list to complete.
Deep Sky Database  Online observing list generator uses SAC catalog of over 10,000 objects. Galaxies, Nebulae, Unusual Objects, by Constellations, Herschel lists, also version for Palm.
Herschel’s catalog of Deep Sky objects SEDS   Compiled by Bill Arnett and David Bishop, this site  features the Herschel Catalog. Includes the full Herschel list of 2500 objects, the A.L.’s Herschel 400 list, Herschel lists by NGC numerical order or by constellation order and the Herschel II list. A brief history of William Herschel and additional background information. Numerous related links also provided.
History of the Deep Sky Objects SEDS  Wonderful web site from SEDS provides a thorough compilation of Historical Deep Sky Catalogs, with biographies of renowned astronomers. Also numerous links to further reading on the History of Deep Sky objects from SEDS.
Interactive NGC Catalog Online  Web site from SEDS and compiled by Hartmut Frommert. Based on the NGC 2000.0 by R.W. Sinnott of Sky Publishing Corp. Provides a thorough database and images of the objects composed from various internet resources. Links to the Digital Sky Survey, NASA/IPAC Extragaltic database, SIMBAD Astronomical database, Hubble Space Telescope image archives, and other useful sites related to the NGC catalog for further study.
Messier Catalog SEDS  Complete Messier Catalog compiled by SEDS. Searchable by icon or text. Includes Object of the week featuring a Messier object to view for a particular time period. Various lists arranged by Nebulae, Clusters, Constellations. A gallery of images of the Messier objects, background and historical information on the Catalog and Charles Messier. Some data such as position, magnitude, apparent diameter, and distances are included for the objects. Links to related topics included.
NGC Guide Alan Dyer & R.A.S.C.  View the 110 objects from the NGC Catalog, by season as outlined by Alan Dyer. Provides celestial information such as RA/DEC, object classification, visual magnitudes and size of objects. No images of the objects or further links available.
NGC Guide by Bill Arnett & SEDS  Site offers several links to the NGC Catalog. Also includes a helpful description of the catalog codes to help you understand what the objects are and how to observe them.
National Deep Sky Observers Society  The National Deep Sky Observers Society was founded in 1976. The society is dedicated to amateur astronomers who enjoy observing deep sky objects. They have a useful web site for anyone interested in deep sky objects. They offer members two quarterly journals, “Deep Sky”, and the “Practical Observer” which is available to members at a discounted subscription rate. The web site offers a number of pages and features including Observing challenges & guides, naked eye observing, Binocular observing, a star hopping guide, and links to related web sites.
Webb Society  The Webb Society is an International society for amateur and professional astronomers dedicated to the observation of double stars and “deep sky” objects. The society is a UK organization but membership is open to anyone with an interest in deep sky observing. They publish a quarterly journal the “Deep-Sky Observer”. The web site includes picture of the month, publications, email list, and numerous links to related web sites.

 


Observing Guides & Tools

Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar  Monthly sky chart & observing information PDF download. Includes monthly events, celestial tracking guides, moon information, comets, planet information, transits, also available monthly Sky map. Several links to related information from Abrams Planetarium.
Advanced Observing Program  From the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, and Kitt Peak Observatory a public outreach program for participants to use the Kitt Peak visitor centers observatory. This is a wonderful program geared towards the amateur astronomer interested in using a large telescope with state-of -the-art instruments. However no prior experience is required. Visit the web site for more information.
All-Sky Panorama  An interesting site created by Axel Mellinger. Features a “virtual reality” view of our Milky way Galaxy. Requires Java support to view. This project took Mr. Mellinger 3 years to acquire images to complete the program. Very interesting and entertaining, just click your mouse to view the entire panorama, or in fixed increments.
Amateur Astronomy Observers Log  Web site created by John Callender using Jeff Bondono’s dObjects program. This site lets you view and, add your own entries to) a database of amateur astronomy observations. Also a help guide, and discussion forum.

Astronomical Data Services  Provides computer-ready astronomical catalogs and data tables available from the ADC. Huge data base. Several search tools available, author, object, Catalog ID number, and IMPReSS, a graphical interface to many astronomical databases.
Astronomy daily  Web site that provides observing guides and information for amateur astronomers. You must register to access the site features.
Astronomy Formulas & Calculations  Web site from James Q. Jacobs provides astronomy formulas & calculations. Includes periodicity formulas, definitions, of various astronomical measurements, notation, time formulas, illumination geometry, planetary data, miscellaneous formulas, and links to Dr. Jacobs other web pages.
Astronomy Watch  Site provides a Lunar phase applet, solar activity, and weekly sky reports.
Automated Metric Conversion Calculator  Metric Conversion calculator from Admiral Metals. Handy tool for converting measurements for telescopes, eyepieces, and other measurements. Length, area, volume, weight, and temperature.
Caldwell Telrad Finder Charts  Web site hosted by Utah Skies Astronomy Club. Provides all the Caldwell Objects and the Telrad charts for each object. Print them out and add them to your observing guides.
Cartes du Ciel  Internet software program created by Patrick Chevalley,  that lets you generate a sky chart (star map) for any location. Create and print your own sky charts, making use of the data in 16 catalogs of stars and nebulae. In addition the position of planets, asteroids and comets are shown. Yahoo group available for support.
Celestial Sphere Page  Web site from the University of Indiana. A good website to learn about basic celestial measurements, orbits, earth tilt, Sun & Earth motion, Sidereal Time, right ascension. Good tools for beginning to learn your way around the night sky.
Center for Backyard Astrophysics  The Center for Backyard Astrophysics was founded in the 1970′s by David Skillman. The CBA is network of mainly amateur astronomers from around the globe that collaborate in observation of variable stars, primarily cataclysmic variable (CV) stars. This data is collected predominantly with CCD’s on small backyard telescopes in the 8-14 inch range. To be considered a good CBA station an amateur astronomer needs, a good telescope 8 inch or larger with electronic drive, a CCD camera and software, and Software for rapid differential photometry (variable-comparison) of the many images. If you are interested in joining this effort visit the CBA web site for further information. The CBA web site provides a wealth of information and resources in the area of variable stars, and offers numerous links for related information.
Clear Sky Clock by Attilla Danko  Attilla Danko has created the Clear Sky Clock as an aid to amateur astronomers to show the nights seeing and observing conditions for a particular location. The Clear Sky Clocks uses forecast data obtained from the Canadian Meteorological Center. If you do not know your observing sites Lat/Long information, he provides a database of several hundred locations that you can apply. Also you can use a clickable map or popular keyword to search for a location.
The Constellations and Their Stars by Chris Dolan  A wonderful online guide to learn about the Constellations from Andromeda to Vulpelcula. The index of Constellations is searchable alphabetically or monthly. He also provides celestial position and coordinates for the stars in each of the Constellations, and an interactive star chart that uses a Java Applet. A very appealing guide to help you gain knowledge about the Constellations.
The Constellations Web Page  Web site compiled by Richard Dibon-Smith. Discusses the Greek myths of the 88 constellations. Includes data such as visual magnitudes, distance, and provides further linked pages to Messier objects, NGC objects, and the Greek Gods and Goddesses in the constellations.
Dark Sky Lighting   Light pollution has increased dramatically In the last few years. Help preserve the beauty of the starry sky for future generations by installing Dark Sky Lighting.
Dark Skies Locator  Use this web site from Keith Cooley to find “dark sky” sites near you. Provides an interesting clickable map for various global locations. Australia looks good! Additional links are provided to related web sites.
Earth & Sky Radio Series  Web site version of the popular radio program heard daily on many radio stations. Topics and resources include in-depth astronomy and science articles, Skywatching Center featuring a monthly observing guide, “Tonight’s Sky”, a daily sky chart with text for the night sky. Also a teachers resource section containing many links for activities and projects. Links related web sites included.
Eclipse Chasers  Web site compiled by Bill Kramer, contains several web pages discussing solar and lunar eclipses. Provides an image gallery of solar & lunar eclipses, how to take eclipse images, all about solar eclipses, and links to related web sites.
Eclipse Home Page  Web site from NASA prepared by Fred Espenak. Very thorough site containing numerous web pages. Topics include solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, Planetary transits, 12 year ephemeris, moon phases, and a large database of other eclipse resources.
Geocode  Useful tool if you need to find your latitude & longitude coordinates for an observing site.
Heavens-Above.com  Chris Peat has created this outstanding site as an aid in observing satellites. He includes a whole sky chart, Sun & Moon data, a Planet summary, Solar System chart, a local and universal time calculator, and many other very useful observing tools. Satellite data includes plots, orbit ephemerids, and visible pass data.
Interactive Sky Charts   Web site from Chris Dolan. JAVA Applets enable you to print out star charts for all the Constellations. This program shows you the stars and constellations in “Star Chart” format. The stars are plotted according to their RA/Dec. Site includes a users guide for the program with basic tips to understand star charts.
International Occultation & Timing Association  Web site provides information and guides for timing of occultations and predictions for amateur astronomers. Asteroidal predictions for the Western Hemisphere, upcoming events, 2004 events, planetary transits, how to report an occultation to IOTA, Occult software, Regional information on events, tips for video & Photoelectric equipment required to record occultations, archives, and links to relevant web sites.
Latitude/Longitude Position Finder  Identify your latitude & longitude by using a clickable map. Continental United States ( 36.6 thru -96.8) only. Zoom map provides 9 levels allows you to zoom down to street level.

Messier Telrad Charts  Web site by John Small provides 15 maps with Messier Telrad finder charts for all the Messier objects. Very handy if you don’t have the books by Brent Watson. Maps originally created by Chris Marriott using SkyMap 3.0.

NASA/JPL Observing Tools  Ephemeris for all the planets, natural satellites, asteroids and comets. Object identification give an observation date, location, to find all asteroids and comets. What’s observable tonight, find all asteroids and comets that are “observable” on that night. Very handy tools from The JPL HORIZONS On-Line Solar System Data and Ephemeris Computation Service.
NOAA Magnetic Field Calculator  From the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, an online Magnetic field calculator. Computes the values of the Earth’s magnetic field for a given location and date or date range. Results are computed for magnetic parameters declination, inclination, horizontal component, north component, east component, vertical component, and total field (D, I, H, X, Y, Z, & F) Also a Geomagnetic Field FAQ’s provides information to help understand Magnetic fields. Numerous links to related sources and web sites also provided.
Observing the Sky  Interesting site for discussions of observing the night skies, in a webblog format created by Chuck Wood and Jay Brausch. Other contributors include Verya Uyehara, Don Davis, Bill Hartmann, David Levy, & Dean Keonig. Very nice image gallery and archive of all images available.
Official U.S. Time  Find the correct time in your time zone, and Universal time. Also outside links to information on time and calendars.
Sky & Telescope Magazine Observing Guide  Basic weekly sky and planetary updates from Sky & Telescope magazine. An email list is available to receive their weekly updates.
Solar Eclipse Mailing List  Mailing list that you can join to share your observations and eclipse discussions with other eclipse enthusiasts world wide.
Solar System Live John Walker  Web site created by John Walker that uses his software program to provide a Solar System Ephemeris. Also an Asteroid and Comet tracking program available.
Spiral Galaxies  Alwyn Botha created this web site which features black and white, negative (white on black) as well as color / color images of ALL spiral galaxies larger than 3 minutes of arc for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Galaxies are searchable by Constellation, or right ascension (celestial longitude).
StarDate Online  From McDonald Observatory, stargazing tips, weekly sky guides, moon phases, sunrise & sunset guide, planet viewing, meteor showers, classroom resources for teachers. Includes links to McDonald Observatory and related web sites.
Stars and Constellations  Web site developed by Prof. Jim Kaler professor in Astronomy at the University of Illinois. This web site provides an online guide to understanding the various types of stars. Discusses the nature of stars, the constellations and star names, stars and their spectral classes, Classical star atlases, the Greek alphabet and stars, and images of the stars. A large web site containing information on 288 stars, and several links to related web sites.
TerraServer  Find Lat/Long coordinates on TerraServer. TerraServer uses USGS Topo maps, and aerial images of a given location. Zoom features allow you to zero in on a given location. Maps available for entire world. Great aerial images.
Tiger Map Server  Another web site to find your Lat/Long coordinates for observing.
U. S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications  The USNO is one of the oldest scientific institutions in the United States. Their web site is a treasure house of observing tools and information for the amateur astronomer. The USNO’s primary mission is an authority for Precise Time, Earth Orientation parameters, and Astronomical data. Information available includes Sun & Moon rise & set times, astronomical almanacs, current USNO research, software, astronomy FAQ’s, and links to related information.
Ultimate Messier Object Log  Computer software program from David P. Green. Wonderful free program from David Green that you can download from his web site. It allows you to develop your own Messier Observing Log. User friendly with many wonderful tools. If you are trying to complete your Astronomical League Messier Certificate this program will greatly enhance your efforts. Includes picture view of all M objects with individual observing pages for you to log and record observing notes and sketches, a night vision feature for field use, sort by constellations, season, seen by, unseen, Messier #. A great tool for any one wanting to record and develop a history of their Messier observing sessions.
U.S. Naval Observatory Weekly Sky Guide  Web site from the U.S. Naval Observatory provides weekly observing highlights. Updated information weekly, numerous links to other USNO web pages include Sun & Moon data, USNO Master Time Clock, Almanac, USNO Observatory, & FAQ’s, as well as numerous links to related web resources.
Weather Forecast for Astronomy  Weather guide from the Canadian Meteorological Center. Current predictions for Clouds, (visible), Clouds (Infrared), Sky Transparency, and Seeing. This data is used by the Clear Sky Clock program. Regional models and GOES satellite simulations are provided to give you an idea of observing opportunities and sky quality.
Why is the Sky Blue  Web site provided by Carl R. (Rod) Nave, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University. Explains why our sky is blue and the physics involved in as a result of Rayleigh scattering. Technical web site also provides links to an online Physics tutorial, discussion of principles of Light, mirrors, optical, photometry, and vision information, text and graphics.
Your Sky John Walker  Your Sky is an internet based planetarium software program. Enter your observing location to create a sky chart to aid in observing. You can enter different dates, times, observing locations, display options, and orbital elements of asteroids and comets you wish to track. Print out the charts before you plan an observing session. Object catalogs for planets, constellations, selected deep sky objects, Messier objects, Meteor Shower Radiants, Navigation Stars, Comets and Asteroids and the Palomar Survey.

 

Satellites Observing / Tracking

Astronomical League EOSOC  The Astronomical League provides a wonderful program to encourage and help understand the observing of satellites. Colorado Springs Astronomical Society hosts the web site for the EOSOC program. The web site provides an EOSOC tutorial, free observing software, and EOSOC observing logs, Excel observation checklist, also several links to related information and additional resources. There is a mail list group for support for participants. The EOSOC program is administered by Tom DeClue and Gary Frerking members of the CSAS.
Dave’s Military Space Page  Web site that provides thorough background information on military weather, communications, surveillance, Early Warning, reconnaissance, SIGNIT and navigation satellites. Searchable database makes it easy to locate relevant information, many links to related web sites included.
Earth Observatory Satellite Overpass Predictor  Very nice tool made available from the NASA Earth Observatory web site. Enter the spacecraft number or NORAD number, your location, start date, and number of days. The Predictor will configure a thorough Overpass report and summary of elements to aid in your observation. Links available to NASA J-Track and the main web page of Earth Observatory.
Heaven’s-Above.com  Chris Peat has created this outstanding site as an aid in observing satellites. He includes a whole sky chart, Sun & Moon data, a Planet summary, Solar System chart, a local and universal time calculator, and many other very useful observing tools. Satellite data includes plots, orbit ephemerids, and visible pass data.
J-Track Satellite Tracking  NASA web site that provides a JAVA applet to allow you to view real time satellite locations. Applets available for Spacecraft, Weather Satellites, Search & Rescue Satellites, Amateur Radio Satellites, and a J-Track 3D plot that shows over 500 satellites. These programs are used by NASA to monitor satellites at NASA facilities. You may have seen these on the screens at NASA’s broadcasts of launches, and on NASA TV.
Introduction to Visual Satellite Observing by Jeff Hunt  Very informative web site for the visual satellite observer. Many amateur astronomers observe and record satellite passes routinely. If you are interested in acquiring the skills and knowledge required for viewing visual satellites you will appreciate the effort made by Jeff to provide a guide to observing satellites. Links to relevant web sites included.
NASA Orbital Debris Program Office  The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office is the lead NASA center for orbital debris research. Features of the web site include current views of Orbiting Debris; Low Earth, Geosynchronous, & Polar views. Other features available are five areas of Orbital Debris Research; Modeling, Measurement, Protection, Mitigation, & Re-entry. Also offered a FAQ’S and newsletter, and links to related web sites. Useful for following space debris in orbit around Earth.
NASA Satellite Fact Sheet  Basic information about satellites from NASA. Discusses satellite orbits, benefits, structure, applications, scientific satellites and communication satellites. No additional links or images.
NOAA Satellite Services Division  Web site provides real time access to satellite data. Databases available for Tropical/Atlantic, INDOEX (Indian Ocean), METEOSAT (Europe & Africa), GOES-9 (Western Pacific). Links to other NOAA products, imagery, current events, Precipitation, Snow & Ice, Volcanoes, Fire & Smoke, and Wind maps. Numerous links to related web sites.
REAL TIME SATELLITE TRACKING  Web site provides “Real Time” Satellite tracking for all types of satellites, based on your ISP location. Allows you to track up to five satellites at one time on visual map. Includes Popular, Most Recent, Brightest, Geostationary, GPS Operational, Military, Amateur Radio, and Weather. Good FAQS And some links.
Satellite News Desk  Latest satellite news, updates, launch information, web site is regularly updated, links to related web sites.
SatPasses N. America  Web site from Bester Tracking Systems. Provides pass information and data for the ISS International Space Station.
Satellite Site  Interesting web site from the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA. & Lockheed Martin, explaining satellites. Discusses Communications, Earth remote sensing, Weather, Global positioning (GPS), and research satellites. Definitions, images, Java applets, orbits, build a satellite (Java) and learn the  anatomy of a satellite.
Satellite Watching by Clark Lindsey  Web site with links and information for Beginners, Satellite Articles, Ground based images of satellites, Satellite observing software and applications, Iridium Flares educational links, and a large assortment of links to related web sites.
View from Satellite  Another program from John Walker that allows the user to view the Earth from a large database of satellites. The program uses a composite of the Earth from The Living Earth web site. The satellite tracking code is based on N3MO Orbit Simulator. Very educational and fun tool for amateur astronomers.
Visual Satellite Observer’s Home Page  Web site originally created by Neil Clifford and Bart De Pontieu and maintained by Jeff Hunt, for visual satellite observing. Tutorials to enhance your satellite observing skills and knowledge of satellites. Topics include a Beginners guide, Magnitude System of Brightness, Tumbling satellites, Satellite position, and other relevant information. A wide-ranging collection of links to related web sites included.

Sky Atlases & Star Charts


Aladin Interactive Sky Atlas 
Web site from the CDS at Strasburg Observatory. Aladin is an interactive software sky atlas allowing the user to visualize digitized images of any part of the sky. Aladin is useful to the amateur astronomer to prepare for observation and study of astronomical objects. Aladin uses a JAVA Applet to allow you to search the Aladin catalog database. It allows the user to query images, catalogues, data, to manipulate the images by zooming or modifying the dynamics, to access the full records of any sources, to add symbols, vectors, etc. Resources include a tutorial and Aladin FAQ’s, dictionary, and thorough documentation to assist you in using this program.
Catalog and Atlas of Cataclysmic Variables  This web site is provided by Ronald A. Downes of the Space Science Telescope Institute (STScl) The General Catalogue of Variable Stars is the primary source of information on variable stars used in this catalog. The catalog includes orbital Period information, Novae coordinates & charts, with finder charts for these objects, HST and ground-based CCD charts, GCVS names, coordinates, Galactic latitude, and the type of variability of the object, year of outburst, magnitude range, coordinate, type, chart, and spectrum references, Space-based observations, and other names. Search the catalog by object name, type, coordinates, or period.
Hawaiian Astronomical Society Deep Sky Atlas  Superb online atlas combining detailed maps, deep sky objects, and myths, about the constellations. The database is a collaboration of several sky catalogs provided by SEDS, the Peoria Astronomical Society’s Messier Survey of the sky, and the DSS ( Digital Sky Survey). You can search the Atlas by Constellations which provides a description of the constellation, a star chart and history and myths of a particular constellation. You can also search by the  deep sky list that provides a star chart, image, and history and myths relating to the object.
NGC/IC Catalog of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars  Website from the NGC/IC project, a collaboration of amateur and professional astronomers working together to correctly identify all the original NGC & IC objects. The New General Catalog was first published in 1888 by J.L.E. Dreyer. He published supplements in 1895 & 1908 which he called the Index Catalogs. This is a superb web site with numerous pages and lots of information for observing the NGC objects. Included on the site are NGC/IC project mission overview, the NGC/IC catalog, a Data & Library archive, Published papers by NGC/IC project members, Observing logs, Observing lists by Constellation or NGC designation, RealSkyView© lists, NGC/IC image gallery (from the DSS), and a collection of links to various related web sites.
SAO Catalog  The SAO web site contains the entire SAO catalog of 258,996 stars. Search tools include online documentation, Right Ascension,  Proper Motion RA, RA Epoch, Declination, Galactic Latitude, Visual Magnitude, and several other search features. Numerous links, tools and related resources are available.

Sky Surveys 

All Sky Automated Survey  The All Sky Automated Survey provides the photometric monitoring of approx. 10^7 stars brighter than 14 magnitude in an all sky survey. This survey provides a tremendous amount of data and information. Catalogs include the ASAS-3 Catalog of Variable Stars, the ASAS-2 Photometric I-band Catalog, ASAS Map graphic interface, the ASAS-2 Catalog of Variable Stars, and ASAS gallery collection of the variables light curves. The instruments for the survey are located at the Los Campanas Observatory in La Serna, Chile.
COBE Cosmic Background Explorer  COBE was launched on 11/18/1989. COBE’s Mission is to measure the Infrared and Microwave radiation from the early Universe. The web site provides detailed information on the instruments and science involved in the COBE spacecraft. Images, diagrams, and text are very thorough and provide wonderful insight in to our cosmic past. Includes many links to related web sites for further study.
FIRST  Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm — (FIRST) is a project designed to produce the radio equivalent of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey over 10,000 square degrees of the North and South Galactic Caps. The survey began in 1993 has produced over 34,000 two-million pixel images covering 9200 square degrees of the sky at 20 cm. The web site provides an introduction and overview of the project, catalog & images for all data through 9/2002 containing 811,000 sources and covering 9030 square degrees is available. For the easiest access to the FIRST survey it is recommended that you use the FIRST Cutout server. The web site also provides a list of FIRST publications, and links to related resources.
The 2df Galaxy Redshift Survey  A spectroscopic survey conducted by the Anglo-Australian Observatory. The survey obtained spectra for 245,591 objects. The objective of the survey was to carry out a large redshift survey of 250,000 galaxies, and to make a 3D map of the Southern Sky. The survey has been pivotal in our understanding of our early Universe. Site includes all survey databases and maps, an image gallery, Survey publications, and links to related web sites.
HST GOODS  GOODS unites extremely deep observations from NASA’s Great Observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope, SIRTIF, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and the most powerful ground-based telescopes, to survey our distant universe. As a result of GOODS, astronomers are gaining a much better understanding of the process of galaxy formation and evolution.
Hipparcos 
The Hipparcos satellite was launched 8/8/1989 by ESA (European Space Agency) The Hipparcos Catalog is a wonderful resource for amateur astronomers and professionals as well. The Hipparcos spacecraft surveyed over 120,000 stars. On the average there are 2.8 stars per square degree in the Hipparcos catalog. Site includes a self guided tour of the catalog, the brightest stars, fastest stars, Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, educational resources, background information, and JAVA applets.
LEDA Extra-Galactic Database  The HyperLEDA galaxy survey is a massive database. It includes 3 million objects, of which 1 million are galaxies. LEDA was developed in 1983, and combined with Hypercat in 2000. Users can search LEDA by common description, search for objects in a field (around a given position) and display color charts or images. Or search the whole LEDA sample, or search for data from the FITS archive. The HyperLEDA may be downloaded for UNIX/LINUX  free, or from the web.
2MASS at IPAC  The 2MASS (Two Micron All Sky Survey) is a large-area survey of the sky in three near-infrared bands. The 2MASS used two highly-automated 1.3-m telescopes, one at Mt. Hopkins, AZ, and one at CTIO, Chile. The survey was completed on 2/15/2001. The web site contains data access to the complete survey, links to abstracts and publications, a public outreach tutorial about the 2Mass Survey, and a large collection of related web site links. Be sure to visit the 2MASS image gallery & 2MASS picture of the week, and the 2MASS/Messier gallery.
MAST  The MAST site contains a variety of Astronomical databases, missions and catalogs. MAST provides search tools and retrieval support for an assortment of of missions and catalogs including HST, FUSE, ROSAT, GALAX, SDSS, GSC, and DSS. MAST provides many search options for locating the information and data you are looking for. Links to related web sites are provided.
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database NED  The NED database contains basic data, and over 10,600,000 names for 7,400,000 extragalactic objects. NED is a vast web site with photometric measurements, position measurements, redshift and radial velocity measurements, and over 773,000 images from 2MASSand the DSS. NED’s WWW interface allows you to access and search the master list of objects in several ways. Also a NED FAQ’s. This is a massive web site with many links to related web sites.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey  SDSS The survey covers in detail one-quarter of the entire sky, determining the positions and absolute brightness’s of more than 100 million celestial objects. The instruments for obtaining the data are at the Apache Point Observatory. The web site offers a self guided tour, image gallery, news updates, history of the survey project, imaging operations, and a DSS FAQ’s. Links to related web sites for further study are provided.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey Skyserver  This site provides access to data from the SDSS. You can search the SDSS database by using predefined queries to locate precise objects. Categories are grouped by Galaxies, Clusters, Spirals, Clumps, Interacting galaxies and object artifacts. Site includes a library, educational topics and activities, and links to related web sites. An outstanding web site with many interactive features and search tools.
SIMBAD Astronomical Database  SIMBAD ( Set of Identifications, Measurements, and Bibliography for Astronomical Data) was created by the The Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory research unit. SIMBAD contains information for approximately 1 million objects. The SIMBAD astronomical database brings together basic data, cross-identifications, observational measurements, and bibliography, for astronomical objects outside our solar system. There are several tools to search for objects in the catalog. The site also contains a Dictionary of Nomenclature of Celestial Objects. A users guide is included which is necessary for the first time user of SIMBAD. Links to many related web sites.
WMAP Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe  The WMAP mission launched on 6/30/2001. The goal of this NASA project is to measure the cosmic microwave background of our Universe. The WMAP mission reveals conditions as they existed in the early universe by measuring the properties of the cosmic microwave background radiation over the full sky. Web site provides a thorough description of the mission with text, diagrams, and an image gallery. Links to related web sites and further reading are included.

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