Observing the Night Sky

Heavens Above

Fantastic resource for planning your viewing or imaging; determine times for planet viewing, ISS and other satellites, iridium flares and obtain orbital parameters for satellite tracking

Graphic visualization tool for planning observations of Jupiter’s moons, brought to you by Sky and Telescope! Allows you to predict and plan for moon transits, occultations and eclipses.

Type in your time and location to get the latest transit times for Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a great little tool courtesy of Sky and Telescope.

Type in your time and location to get the current landscape visible on Mars, by Sky and Telescope

Online catalog of the Messier objects.

A guide to telescopic observations of the moon by Akkana Peck, with help from many contributors.

Exoplanet Watch is a NASA citizen science project, sponsored by NASA’s Universe of Learning, that lets anyone and everyone learn about planets that orbit stars beyond our solar system and get involved in observing them. Submit your own exoplanet observations and get cited in published papers!

Generate observing lists for deep sky objects! There are also links to some other list generating sites.

Telescopes, Instrumentation, Imaging

P. Clay Sherrod’s authoritative guide to cleaning optics.

This is a link inside Jerry Lodriguss’ website called AstroPix. He has some really great astroimaging information, but this page is particularly useful as a reference.

Field of View (FOV) calculator, cloud forecast and longitude/latitude lookup

See what’s practically possible for satellite imaging!

This is so informative about collimation, it’s worth its own link!

Sure, Celestron tries to upsell their equipment, but this site does have some very good information about a number of astronomical topics.

Chronicles the astroimaging journey of our club president, first using a 10 inch Meade Alt-az mount and a DSLR, then later a 12 inch Meade Paramount GEM mount with a cooled CMOS camera. Some nice tips to motivate your own journey!

A youtube site run by Mark Radice, an amateur astronomer near Salisbury in England, providing very informative videos on a host of imaging related topics.

Fantastic, free utility for stacking images of deep sky objects. It’s the easiest deep sky object stacking program out there imo, and great for beginners.

Fantastic, free utility for registering and stacking video frames for planetary and solar imaging . I still use Registax for its wavelet processing but this program is just so much better at registering and stacking video frames, it really is a must-have!

Home page for JUPOS, an amateur astronomical project whose aim is to collect precise positions of jovian cloud features, to analyse them in drift charts, and to examine if and how their movements change in time. Grischa Hahn wrote a fantastic, free utility called WinJUPOS for combining stacked images from sequential videos of Jupiter or Saturn. This is easier than you think! However, I would say it is worth the effort only if you have pretty decent data to begin with. Check out this great youtube video on WinJUPOS by Mark Radice at Refreshing Views.

Home page for GIMP, a free utility that emulates much of Photoshop’s capabilities. This tool has a great deal of functionality and can do all of the image processing you need for astroimaging beginners and is perfect for touching up astrophotos processed by more sophisticated programs.

If you’ve gone past the beginner stage for deep sky object imaging, this software is for you. This really is an irreplaceable tool for deep sky object image processing. It’s not free, but there is a 30-day free trial that will convince you of its worth. 

A great site for online robotic telescope imaging! You can get a one month free trial to use a number of different scopes. Click on this link to see a short youtube video describing the various plans (if you decide to go beyond the free trial).

Fantastic site for online robotic telescope imaging! You can try it for free just to check it out. It provides you access to an 11″ Celestron RASA for one-shot color imaging or a 12.5″ RCOS instrument for narrowband imaging.

Links to Sources of Astronomical Information

The latest news in Astronomy and Space Technology.

Beautiful comprehensive site with interactive tools to explore the solar system!

Visualization tools for the entire Solar System and the spacecrafts exploring it! Our favorite is Eyes on the Solar System, which let’s you see the Solar System from the perspective of any celestial body within it! Some require you to download applications, so don’t, but every single one is worth it!

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is the recognized authority on light pollution and is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide

Through a variety of robotic observatory and explorer craft, and through sponsored research, the Directorate provides virtual human access to the farthest reaches of space and time, as well as practical information about changes on our home planet.

Home page of the Planetary Society, originally founded by Carl Sagan, Louis Friedman and Bruce Murray.

American Association of Variable Star Observers – get star charts and information to contribute your own variable star observations!

Home page for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) – an international student organization whose purpose is to promote space exploration and development through educational and engineering projects.

Going strong since 1995! Here is a link to the full archive as well

StarChild is a learning center for young astronomers ages 5-13 to learn about the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe beyond.

The oscillating electric and magnetic field components of plasma waves in space from spacecrafts to shock waves on the edge of the Solar System, converted to audio!

This site by Calvin Hamilton is a little dated (2015), but it still has some really wonderful information about the solar system.

An astronomer’s point of view on matters of space, space travel, general science and consciousness.