Resources

Astronomy resources

Accessible astronomy

In April of 2012, I received a nice comment from a person who was hard of hearing who said that my astronomy videos were easy for her to "hear" based on my presentation style.  I contacted a few other people who make their astronomy videos accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and here is some information from Noreen Grice who has some excellent resources available at her site, which is youcandoastronomy.com.  Please be sure to bookmark it for those moments when someone asks you about such a resource; hers is top-notch.  UPDATE: All weekly "Eyes on the Sky" videos are also closed-captioned, so that people who are hard of hearing or deaf may turn on the captions to more easily understand what is being covered every week.

Save money by fighting light pollution!

PLEASE think about how your outdoor lighting (at home or business) affects the night sky. Any light that spills "up" into the sky is completely wasted, and only serves to light up the bottom of planes. See the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting website, which is one of the best at describing the problem, dispelling myths, and providing practical information to reduce the problem and help us all see more stars.  Also please see the International Dark Sky Association and the Campaign for Dark Skies.

Scale of the Universe

Without a doubt, the above link is one of the coolest ways to understand the relative size of everything from atoms and quarks to galaxy clusters relative to the size of the entire Universe.

See the International Space Station

See the ISS, space shuttle Tiangong space station, or bright satellites just by clicking on this link and entering your zip code. Site tells you what you can see, when and where to look, and how bright it/they will be. Check it often!

Greek alphabet reference sheet - free download

Most star charts use lowercase Greek alphabet letters to indicate the 24 brightest stars in constellations. Here is a free Greek alphabet reference guide that you can download and print. 2.3MB size.

Great observing planner

Check out this fantastic site, called Deep Sky Objects Browswer.  You can set your location, then search for objects by narrowing down various criteria like magnitude, size, type of object, and more.  Handy tool indeed!

Variable Star Observations

Think there isn't any "real science" that can be done with a backyard telescope anymore? Think again! The AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) is an organization that collects variable star estimations from amateur astronomers the world-over - some of which can be done without a telescope OR binoculars!

More Citizen Science

How would you like to discover a planet? Find a Kuiper Belt object beyond Pluto? You can do that, and more, at Zooniverse.org. Check it out and see why over 450,000 other people think that citizen science is not only fun, but a real service to the overall science of astronomy as well.

Magazines

Both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines provide in-depth information about astronomy, our universe, astrophysics / cosmology, and more in-depth information about objects that amateur astronomers can see in the night sky.  Product reviews are also provided (NOTE: Not all content is free; some requires a subscription to access).

Online Forums

There are several very good online forums where amateur astronomers - beginners to experts alike - can gather, share and discuss astronomy online.  Everything from beginner questions to deep sky observing and telescope equipment, you're likely to find a sub-forum at one of these that answers your questions or you find is a great place to hang out and read other's thoughts and share yours.  Several of the most well-trafficked ones include:

Join one today!  Most other users are very friendly and helpful, and you may even find someone in your area that shares your interest in astronomy too.