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Exploring the Cosmos on the World Wide Web.

There was a time when few people had heard of the Internet--it was nearly the exclusive playground of students and faculty at universities and other research institutions. Now this worldwide computer network has been mainstreamed. In its various guises it supports electronic mail (e-mail) among tens of millions of people around the world, it provides quick access to information, and it even serves as entertainment with games and less-than-serious neighborhoods along the information superhighway.

In only the past few years a growing, powerful tool, the World Wide Web (the "Web" or WWW), has spread throughout the network and has become the unofficial standard of organizing data on the Internet. By using "browser" software such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft's Internet Explorer on your computer and a communications link to an Internet service provider, you can explore the user-friendly blend of text and graphics. To reach a site all you need do is enter its WWW address, called a URL (uniform resource locator); once there you can click on hyperlinks to reach other pages or sites.

It doesn't matter what astronomical interests you have; they will be satisfied online. You'll find information about the discoveries made by professional and amateur astronomers, solar-system exploration with robotic probes, comet observing, deep-sky objects, telescope making, and astrophotography.

Here are a few WWW sites that represent the astronomical resources available through the Internet. You can access all of them, and hundreds more of interest to amateur astronomers, from SKY Online ( Among the listings there are home pages for scores of local astronomy clubs around the world, an up-to-date compendium of electronic mailing lists you can join, and a guide to Internet discussion groups.

Professional Research

American Astronomical Society

The main body of professional astronomers in the United States offers WWW browsers information on annual meetings, publications, and resources for a career in astronomy.

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams cbat.html

The clearing-house for astronomical discoveries. While the official Circulars are available only by subscription, findings of general interest are often highlighted on the Astronomical Headlines page. You can also jump over to the Minor Planet Center for information about asteroids.

European Southern Observatory

Catch the latest results from the telescopes in Chile, or follow the progress of the Very Large Telescope now under construction.

International Astronomical Union iau.html

Information on the meetings and commissions of the world's association of professional astronomers.

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Results from various planetary spacecraft can be explored here. Have your 3-D glasses ready for the Stereo Atlas of the Solar System.

National Optical Astronomy Observatories

You'll find overviews of facilities (including the 8-meter Gemini project), information about recent astronomical findings, and educational programs. Included is the handy "Frequently Asked Questions about Being an Astronomer."

Royal Astronomical Society

The British professional association is more than 175 years old and offers a WWW page with details about its programs.

Space Telescope Science Institute

Here you can view the latest and greatest images from the most expensive scientific satellite lofted into orbit. There's also plenty of additional information about the research facility and its operations.

U.S. Naval Observatory

The publishers of the Astronomical Almanac offer utility pages for calculating solar and lunar circumstances and for granting access to the atomic time of the USNO Master Clock.


Astronomiae Historia--History of Astronomy astoria.html

This site maintained by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy, part of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, a professional society in Germany. It provides an online encyclopedia of astronomical people, places, instruments, and ideas.

Astronomy Cafe cafe.html

Astrophysicist Sten Odenwald answers questions from the masses. The query that's been bugging you has probably already been answered in the 3,000 posted replies. But if not, just ask Sten.

Digitized Sky Survey

The detailed photographic plates of the National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (with additional coverage from the Southern Hemisphere) have been scanned and made Internet accessible. Enter the coordinates (or request them) and in a minute or two you'll have the field on your monitor.

Hawaiian Astronomical Society's Storybook and Deepsky Atlas

Mythology and folklore are only the beginning of this guide to the constellations. It also features star maps and listings of deep-sky objects.

Mount Wilson StarMap Service StarMap/

Enter the time, location, and other specifications and receive a personalized all-sky map in PostScript format.

National Space Science Data Center

The repository for astronomical and space-science data at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Browse the image gallery or order a CD-ROM of astronomical catalogs.

The Nine Planets nineplanets/nineplanets.html

An online encyclopedia of the solar system by Bill Arnett, continuously updated with new images and information. If this site is busy, make note of the "mirror" sites to try instead.

Views of the Solar System

Similar in scope to The Nine Planets, Calvin J. Hamilton's guide is also available in Spanish and is gradually being translated into Portuguese. Build your own data tables of planetary information.

Places and Organizations

American Association of Variable Star Observers

A leading organization that links amateur and professional astronomers. Here you can find out how you can be a part of astronomical research and check special alerts. Some stellar data are also accessible.

Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers

This clearing-house for amateur observations of the Sun, Moon, and planets just celebrated its 50th year.

The Astronomical League

This alliance of more than 200 astronomy clubs promotes the hobby throughout the United States.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

While a professional astronomical society in origin, the ASP is perhaps better known for its strong activities in education.

International Dark-Sky Association

Help fight the battle against light pollution!

International Meteor Organization

If you like watching "shooting stars," you can do science too. Check here for details.

SETI Institute

Astronomers have found planets around other stars, raising the hope of finding life elsewhere in the galaxy. Learn of the current and planned programs to search for ETs.

Star*s Family of Astronomy Resources

A searchable directory of astronomy-related facilities and organizations around the world. Also features a guide to astronomical abbreviations and acronyms.

Space Missions


We're going back to Saturn, and this time we're landing a probe on Titan. Although launched in October 1997, Cassini won't arrive until 2004--there'll be plenty of time to read through the extensive information here.


Keep tabs on the Galileo spacecraft as it orbits Jupiter and sends back images of the planet and its moons.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Retrieve information on solar-system exploration past, present, and future.

Mars Global Surveyor

The mapping of Mars begins in March 1998. You don't want to miss any of the new details seen on the red planet's surface.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

The SOHO site provides daily images of our nearest star.

Space Shuttle

A complete resource of the Space Shuttle program, with special features during active missions.

Observing Guides and Information Billy's Astronomy Program astronomy/almanac.html

Enter your location, date, and time, and Billy Kreuter's utility will provide positions for various celestial objects visible to the naked eye.

Comets and Meteor Showers

Gary Kronk's extensive resources will help you get the most out of observing new comets and annual meteor showers.

Comet Observation Home Page

A repository for comet reports and images from observers around the world maintained by Charles Morris of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Find out what that comet looked like last night.

Izzy's Skylog skylog.html

Each month "Izzy" offers a sky calendar, a featured constellation, and a selection of answers from "Ask Izzy."

NASA Solar Eclipse Bulletins

Make your plans for upcoming total solar eclipses with the help of these detailed guides, or request a printed version.

Satellite Observing Resources ~iburrell/sat/sattrack.html

Take up the challenge of tracking Earth-orbiting satellites.

Skytour skytour.html

An amateur's "Introduction to the Sky" takes you through the solar system and beyond, explaining what to see and how to view it.



Online classified advertisements for equipment and a "Virtual Astronomy Mall" featuring commercial suppliers of telescopes, software, and accessories.

ATM Journal

A magazine for amateur telescope makers highlights new instrument designs, optical testing, parts vendors, and amateur gatherings. A few of the publication's articles are online.

ATM Page

A compendium of plans, ideas, tips, and venders for telescope makers and electronic-imaging enthusiasts.

Cookbook Camera Home Page

Richard Berry's online site for those inclined to build their own CCD cameras.

Mel Bartels' Home Page

A wealth of telescope and observing information that includes telescope making, collimation, CCDs, and astrophotography.


Anglo-Australian Observatory

Low-resolution versions of David Malin's spectacular astrophotographs using some of the world's largest telescopes. There's also information on how to obtain high-resolution slides and prints.

Astronomical Image Library

Looking for a picture of a certain celestial object? Search the database to find it throughout the WWW. But make sure you get permission to use what you find.

Astronomical Pictures and Animations

Three gigabytes (and growing) of astronomical imagery to download and view.

Astronomy Picture of the Day astropix.html

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety in astronomical imagery. Each day is unique--with a link to the source for more information. Peek at hundreds of past editions from June 1995.

Today's Space Weather Report

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Laboratory provides fresh views of the Sun, plus up-to-date solar and geomagnetic environment reports.
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Author:Goldman, Stuart J.
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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