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


StellarVue Sky Maps & Star Charts

MyStarsLive – Interactive Star Chart

Skywatcher’s Pronunciation Guide

Part 2: Planning: Staying current with the sky


SAS Observatory Clear Sky Clock

Sky & Telescope – This Week’s Sky at a Glance


Abrams Planetarium – Monthly Skywatcher’s Diary – This Month in the Sky – Something Amazing Every Day

Part 3: Buying a good pair of binoculars


Binocular Astronomy Resource Page

Part 4: Buying a telescope (optional)

Telescope Review Web Site

Purchasing Amateur Telescopes FAQ How to pick a telescope

Starcuiser.Com — How To Choose a Telescope

Telescope Basics

Part 5: Where to go from here

Sky and Telescope – Your First Steps in Astronomy

Sky and Telescope – Resources – Internet Resources

Astronomy Info for Beginners

Cosmic Voyage

Peoria Astronomical Society – Learning Topics

Backyard Astronomy for Beginners

Astronomy- Bill Arnett’s Home Page

NASA – JPL Solar System Simulator

Excelsis Astronomy

NASA pic of the day-current


Night Sky Magazine – Backyard Astronomy for Everyone

Sky & Telescope Magazine

Astronomy Magazine

Amateur Astronomy Magazine

Join a local group, like:

NH Astronomical Society

Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy Tips

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