January 29, 2010
Whether you're a beginner sky watcher or a serious astronomer, here are astronomy resources that will help you watch the heavens.
Did you know: This almanac is defined as a “calendar of the heavens.” The founder of The Old Farmer's Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, was inspired by “unvanquished space,” reading Ferguson's Astronomy at age 16. He later wrote that “it was from the pleasing study of this work, I first imbibed the idea of calculating an almanack.” Thomas continued to study astronomy in his spare time while building a store and a bindery for The Old Farmer's Almanac near his farm in Massachusetts.
Ever wanted to look through the lens of the Hubble telescope? Here's the next best thing to being there. View Hubble's colorful pictures of stars, plants, galaxies, and more.
Or, take a tour of Hubble pictures through an astronomer's eyes to better understand the science and beauty of space.
Watch the new NASA ScienceCast. Each week, enjoy a short video highlighting a topic in NASA science news such as the night sky. See the ScienceCast video series.
Whether you have a telescope or not, it's neat to know the stars by name. Just type in your zip code for a detailed map of what's in the sky above you.
Here are detailed sky maps, showing stars, constellation lines, and names.
You may also enjoy exploring these constellation maps which show the locations of the constellations on six charts (with two of the polar regions and four centered on the celestial equator).
Free Educational Astronomy Resource
Here's a really neat (and free) education resource: At Wolfram|Alpha, you can instantly generate star charts for your location, compute eclipse dates, get information about meteor showers and other astronomical events, find a satellite, and more! See the Wolfram|Alpha astronomy tools.
Share your enthusiasm for the heavens with others by joining a group of amateur astronomers near you. The Astronomical League is one of the largest independent astronomical organizations in the world. Check out its comprehensive club list to find the one nearest you.
Buying a Telescope
If you're interested in purchasing a telescope, here are some tips to get you started.
You may also find this list of telescope buyers' frequently asked questions helpful.
This list of telescope retailers will help you find a store near you.
Join the Almanac Astronomy Forum! Meet other readers who like to keep an eye on the sky. The forum is free to all.
Stars scribble in our eyes the frosty sagas,
The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space.
–Hart Crane, American poet (1899-1932)
We're always looking for more good astronomy links. You are welcome to post your suggestions below! Thank you.