Information and Web Sites for New or Curious Observers!

Spinning PlanetWhat’s in the sky tonight? What’s coming up? How can I find the planets? What can I expect to see? Here are links to the places I go to learn.

Preface: I started this page on the request of an acquaintance in May two years ago. The idea was to list web sites that would be helpful for beginners. Here it finally is!

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sky. The tiny portion of our galaxy that we can see on the darkest of nights with the finest telescopes still has much to reveal to us. It can be the joy of a lifetime to have even a passing acquaintance with stars. It gives me a small but comforting sense of the vast majesty of Creation, and my privileged, tiny place in it.

The problem is finding what we need to have fun with the sky at our skill level. There are a lot of web sites, newsgroups, books, magazines and software that cover astronomy. Here are some that I’ve enjoyed using as I’ve learned. There is no rule that you must follow these in order! Most people don’t, I suspect. I organized them this way to try to not leave anything out.

Part 1: Learning your way around the sky

JH STAR GAZER HOME PAGE
http://jackstargazer.com/

StellarVue
http://www.stellarvue.com/newtoastronomy.html

Skymaps.com- Sky Maps & Star Charts
http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

MyStarsLive – Interactive Star Chart
http://www.mystarslive.com/

Skywatcher’s Pronunciation Guide
http://www.wsanford.com/~wsanford/exo/pronunciation_guide.html

Part 2: Planning: Staying current with the sky

JH STAR GAZER HOME PAGE
http://jackstargazer.com/

SAS Observatory Clear Sky Clock
http://cleardarksky.com/c/SASObNHkey.html

Sky & Telescope – This Week’s Sky at a Glance
http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/article_110_1.asp

NexStarGT
http://nexstargt.robserver.com/

Abrams Planetarium – Monthly Skywatcher’s Diary
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyWatchersDiary/Diary.html

Space.com – This Month in the Sky
http://www.space.com/spacewatch/sky_calendar.html

Space.com – Something Amazing Every Day
http://www.space.com/

SpaceWeather.com
http://www.spaceweather.com/

AstronomyDaily.com
http://www.astronomydaily.com/

Part 3: Buying a good pair of binoculars

Binocs
http://www.weatherman.com/BINOCS.HTM

Binocular Astronomy Resource Page
http://www.uvaa.org/BinocularResources.htm

Part 4: Buying a telescope (optional)

Telescope Review Web Site
http://www.scopereviews.com/

Purchasing Amateur Telescopes FAQ
http://www.nhastro.com/misc/patfaq.html

astronomics.com- How to pick a telescope
http://www.astronomics.com:80/main/howto.asp?n1=1&cat%5Fid=7

Starcuiser.Com — How To Choose a Telescope
http://www.sipe.com/starcruiser/observatory/html/fg_telescope.html

Telescope Basics
http://www.rasc.ca/education/scope.html

Part 5: Where to go from here

Sky and Telescope – Your First Steps in Astronomy
http://skyandtelescope.com/howto/basics/article_260_1.asp

Sky and Telescope – Resources – Internet Resources
http://skyandtelescope.com/resources/internet/

Astronomy Info for Beginners
http://www.sjaa.net/beginner.html

Cosmic Voyage
http://cosmic-voyage.net/

Peoria Astronomical Society – Learning Topics
http://www.astronomical.org/portal/modules/wfsection/

Backyard Astronomy for Beginners
http://www.backyard-astro.com/beginner/beginner.html

Astronomy- Bill Arnett’s Home Page
http://nineplanets.org/

NASA – JPL Solar System Simulator
http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/

Excelsis Astronomy
http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/catalog.php?categoryid=3

NASA pic of the day-current
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Magazines

Night Sky Magazine – Backyard Astronomy for Everyone
http://nightskymag.com/

Sky & Telescope Magazine
http://skyandtelescope.com/

Astronomy Magazine
http://www.astronomy.com/

Amateur Astronomy Magazine
http://www.amateurastronomy.com/

Join a local group, like:

NH Astronomical Society
http://www.nhastro.com/

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