Favorite Astronomy Links
Note: Except for the removal of dead links, this site has not really been updated since the author retired in 2009.
- We are observing the Sun
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched 11 February 2010, is obtaining spectacular images of the Sun.
STEREO spacecraft, launched 25 October 2006, is using stereoscopic vision to construct a global picture of the Sun and its influences.
Hinode spacecraft (formerly Solar B), launched 23 September 2006, is taking very high resolution images of the Sun
GENESIS spacecraft brought back solar wind particles despite crash landing 8 September 2004
- We are exploring the Moon
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), launched 18 June 2009, is orbiting the Moon and conducting investigations preparing for future explorations.
NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), launched 18 June 2009, made two impacts on 9 October 2009.
Japan’s Kaguya, aka Selene, orbited the Moon with three spacecraft 2007–09 and mapped its gravity field.
India’s Chandrayaan-1 orbited the Moon from November 2008 to August 2009 and landed a probe 14 November 2008.
China’s Chang'e-1 orbited and mapped the Moon from October 2007 to March 2009.
ESA’s SMART-1 orbited the Moon and mapped its composition 2004–06.
- We are exploring Mars
Phoenix Mars Lander set down in polar region and analyzed soil and ice from May to November 2008
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter went into orbit around Mars 10 March 2006
ESA’s Mars Express is orbiting Mars
NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity started roaming in January 2004, and Opportunity is still at it
2001 Mars Odyssey has changed views about the Red Planet, has made more than 15,000 orbits
Mars Global Surveyor mapped Mars from 1997–2006 — and made more than 240,000 images
Curiosity: the latest and best Mars rover
- We are exploring comets and asteroids
Dawn spacecraft, launched 27 September 2007, is orbiting the large asteroid Vesta.
Rosetta comet mission was launched 2 March 2004, will reach Comet 67 P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko in 2014.
HAYABUSA (MUSES-C) landed on asteroid Itokawa in 2005, returned samples to Earth in 2010.
Stardust flew by comet Wild 2 on 2 January 2004, returned samples to Earth 15 January 2006.
Deep Impact sent a projectile into comet Tempel 1 on 4 July 2005.
- We are exploring the rest of the Solar System
Messenger, launched in 2004, entered orbit around Mercury 18 March 2011.
Venus Express is orbiting Venus and sending back information and images
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission has imaged Chicxulub crater, formed by the impact believed to have killed off the dinosaurs
IMAGE spacecraft is studying the Earth's magnetosphere.
JUNO, launched 5 August 2011, is on its way to Jupiter, will arrive in July 2016 and orbit for one year.
Cassini is orbiting Saturn and Huygens landed on Titan
New Horizons was launched 19 January 2006, sent back images of jovian system in Apr–May 2007, will reach Pluto in 2015
- We are finding and learning about other planetary systems
COROT, launched 27 December 2006, sought evidence of earthlike planets around other suns until 2 November 2012.
Kepler was launched 6 March 2009 and found hundreds of extrasolar planets. The main mission ended in May 2013.
- Space-based observatories are revealing much
Herschel was launched by the European Space Agency 14 May 2009, is viewing infrared sky with 3.5-m telescope.
Swift is catching gamma ray bursts on the fly — Education/Public Outreach is at SSU.
Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST) was launched 11 June 2008 — Education/Public Outreach is at SSU
X-ray Multi-Mirror satellite (XMM-Newton) is observing the x-ray and ultraviolet sky.
Three of NASA’s Great Observatories are still at work
Hubble Space Telescope
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF) is now in its warm phase
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), launched 14 December 2009, mapped the infrared sky until 17 February 2011.
- Cosmology missions tell us about the Universe
Planck was launched by the European Space Agency 14 May 2009, explored CMB fluctuations to unprecedented precision until October 2013.
Gravity Probe B, to test general relativity, launched 20 April 2004, announced its final results 4 May 2011.
GALEX mapped the history of star formation in the universe from 2003 to 2012
WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) has mapped the CMB radiation and determined cosmological parameters — Five year results released 7 March 2008
BOOMERANG mapped the Cosmic Microwave Background from balloon-borne telescopes launched from Antarctica in 1998 and 2003.
Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) measured primordial deuterium from 1999 to 2007.
- Space Calendar
What's Up, Doc?
- What time is it? — current time in about 600 cities around the world (map).
- AstroViewer — Display a sky map and see what’s up.
- The Constellations — includes mythology as well as astronomy.
- WIKISKY — the sky in great detail, zoomable, including images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and much more.
- Google Sky — software you can download to explore the sky (part of Google Earth)
- This Week’s Sky at a Glance —
from Sky & Telescope.
- Sun and Moon rising & setting times, phases, eclipses, seasons, occultations, etc. —
- Tools and Resources for Sun Calculations and Observations —
anonymouse site with links to many useful pages.
Viewer — day and night.
- The Earth at night as seen from space — Pick out your favorite city from its light pollution.
- Solar System Simulator — images, movies, orbits, and more.
- Current and Recent Comets — Gary W. Kronk’s Cometography
- NASA Eclipse
Website — from Fred Espenak at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
- SkyView — a portal to images of the night sky in many different representations and wavelengths and to great depths.
- Astrophysical Data System —
abstracts of articles in technical journals.
- Astronomical Survey Projects — Links to a great many sky surveys now underway in all wavelength bands.
- Students for the Exploration and Development
of Space — gateway to many sources, including the Messier Catalog.
Net Advance of Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics — lecture notes
and more at various levels.
- Webstars: Astrophysics in Cyberspace — from HEASARC
- Basics of Radio Astronomy
- Infrared Astronomy — from NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
- U. S.
Geological Survey Astrogeology Research Program
— Many maps of Mars and other planets.
- SkyView —
images of any part of the sky at wavelengths from radio to gamma-ray.
- High Energy Astrophysics Science
Archive Research Center (HEASARC) — images, descriptions, and
data from x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy satellites.
- The James Webb Space Telescope — Plans for the Hubble’s successor are underway.
- The Solar System
— JPL site with links to missions. See also The Nine Planets by Bill Arnett and (if you can stand the ads) Views
of the Solar System by C.J. Hamilton.
Physics at the National Space Sciences Data Center — links to details of past, present, and future Solar System exploration missions.
- Galileo explored Jupiter
and its satellites from 1995 to 2003
- The Exploration of the Earth’s Magnetosphere — a non-mathematical but quite detailed overview of space research on the Earth’s environment in space.
- Apollo Lunar Surface Journal — Transcripts, commentary, and spectacular images from when astronauts walked on the Moon. See especially the images from Apollo 17.
- Lunar panoramas from Apollo — Hans Nyberg has spliced together photographs to make 360° panoramas accompanied by audio recordings of astronauts at the time.
- Minor Planets (asteroids) — see also the list by number or by name.
- NEAR Shoemaker satellite orbited asteroid Eros for a year, landed 12 February 2001.
there once life on Mars? — about a controversial meteorite.
- Meteorite Central and Meteorites and Their Properties
— two sites on those rocks from out of this world.
- Kuiper Belt Objects — all about those trans-Neptunian objects by David Jewitt, one of the leaders in discovering and interpreting them.
Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia — all the news about planets
orbiting other suns.
- California & Carnegie Planet Search — from the leading American researchers in the field.
- Life in the Universe — information provided by the Planetary
- The Sun
- The Solar Neutrino Problem and Its Solution
- Stars — the star of the week, and of previous weeks, by James Kaler.
Cosmology — includes animations, brief history of 20th century
- Cosmology Books and Links —
from a course at Sonoma State University.
- Stephen Hawking's Universe
Institutions, Organizations, Observatories
- Observatories — index to many, including
2MASS AAO ESO Gemini HST JAC Keck NOAO NRAO SDSS SOHO Subaru Swift Yohkoh
- NASA, including Ames Astrobiology Institute Goddard HST JPL All science missions (past, present, & future)
- American Association of Variable Star
- American Astronomical Society (AAS) —
the leading professional society in the USA.
- Astronomical Society of the Pacific
(ASP) — for professionals, amateurs, teachers, and others.
- Berkeley Cosmology Group — good material on dark matter,
- Center for Earth and Planetary
Studies — at the National Air and Space Museum.
- International Astronomical
Union (IAU) — the leading professional society on Earth.
- International Dark Sky Association — dedicated to sound lighting practices and preserving dark skies.
- International Occultation and Timing Association (IOTA) — to encourage and facilitate the observation of occultations and eclipses.
- The Meteoritical Society — to promote the study of extraterrestrial materials and their history.
- The National Space Society — promotes change in social, technical, economic, and political conditions to advance the day when people will live and work in space.
- The Planetary Society — founded
by Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray.
- The Royal Astronomical Society — in London since 1820.
- The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada — includes both professionals and amateurs.
- The SETI Institute — now privately
funded, the search for extraterrestrial life goes on.
History of Astronomy
of Astronomy — the most extensive list, by Wolfgang Dick in Germany, unfortunately no longer updated.
- Some History of Astronomy Online Resources — primarily for the historian of astronomy, from the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society.
- History of Mathematics
Archive — at the U. of St. Andrews in Scotland, includes much
astronomy and physics, including essays on History Topics.
- Center for History of Physics — extensive site at the American Institute of Physics.
- Calendars — by LeRoy E. Doggett.
- Calendar FAQs
Galileo: Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope — Beautiful site from the Institute and Museum of Hisotory of Science in Florence, filled with images and animations covering much of the early history of astronomy.
- Archaeoastronomy Web Sources — by David Dearborn.
- Archaeoastronomy, Ancient Astronomy and Ethnoastronomy
- Aboriginal Star Knowledge: Native American Astronomy
- Astronomy in
Astronomy — part of a museum exhibit.
- Animations of Planetary Models from Ptolemy’s Almagest — by Dennis Duke.
- The Astrolabe
- The Copernican Revolution — outline with links.
- Tycho Brahe
- The Galileo
Project — the Copernican Revolution, telescopes, 16th and 17th
century astronomers, and more.
- The Art of Renaissance Science: Galileo and Perspective — art, music,
- Lunar Exploration Timeline — a timeline of lunar exploration, with links to missions.
- Sir Isaac Newton
- Out of This World: The Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas
- Albert Einstein
- Einstein Archives Online
1920 Shapley-Curtis "Debate" -the scale of the universe.
- The Bruce
Medalists — brief biographies, photos, and bibliographies of leading 19th and 20th century
- Cosmology Since 1900 — Outline of discoveries with links to further information.
- The Struggles to Find the Ninth Planet — Clyde Tombaugh's account of his discovery of Pluto.
- NASA History Division — includes rocket history, early astronauts, etc.
- A Brief History
of High Energy Astronomy — includes dates of missions, and
other astronomy-related events.
- The Discovery of
Pulsars — first person account by S. Jocelyn Bell Burnell.
Index to Sky & Telescope — a complete index by Kevin Krisciunas.
Astronomy as a Hobby
Other Interesting Sites