Site NOAA Weather and Clear Sky Clocks (others weather links at TAC mainPage sites page or newSitesPage)
Australia-iTele: SkippySky TimeAndWeather, SunAndMoon, AU clouds, 5-day SSO, delayed IR satellite loop.
NewMexicoSkies: Clouds, ClearSkyClock, NOAA Weather.
Spain-iTele: SkippySky. TimeAndWeather, current clouds or EU satellite IR loop or weather loop.
Webcams for San Jose CA area with Morgan Hill and both south as well as west facing webcams at Lick Observatory
Time for UTC and USA time zones. Also check out current sidereal time (right ascension (RA) that is
directly overhead at the current local time. Enter your longitude
or a city name. You can get time and weather most anywhere in the world using links like these Australia , New Mexico, Spain.
Astronomy Clubs/Groups in central California (good info at many): TAC - The Astronomy Connection, SJAA San Jose Astronomical Association, PAS - Peninsula Astronomical Society, SCAC - Santa Cruz Astronomy Club
California Bay Area Observing Sites My map of commonly used central California sites.
Fantastic site to get pictures of the NGC or IC objects easily. There are pages for Messier and Herschel 400
Adventures In Deep Space has a huge collection of advanced targets and projects for visual observers.
DSS and Object Search: SDDS3 object image search frontend: DR8 tool. Harvard SDSS catalog search. Identify objects from search of MANY catalogs easily using VizieR Service
Large number of organized observing projects for ideas or
earning cirtificate/pins. If you want to work on your own this
site has most of the common lists of things so you can get ideas for
your own 'quests in space'.
SAC Observing Lists - Saguaro collection of many fine lists and also see their astro links.
Heavens Above Sattelite And Tracking
A nicely done page that
can predict locations for all sorts of non-stationary objects like
man-made spacecraft/sattelites as well as planets astroids, and
STScI Digital Sky Survey (DSS)
Advanced users can enter RA and DEC and get
pictures from the DSS library. This is an amazing and powerful
tool so play with it to learn it. (Enter in this format
RA 22 37 15 Dec +34 25
42 and you may want to select file format GIF unless
your defaults can display FITS)
WikiSky - Deep images of full sky with object search. Remarkable.
Formulas And Calculators
Telescope Formulas - These are very common conversions used daily in discussing telescopes and observations.
Star Testing Of Optics - Shows star test patterns that are from excellent to bad showing common problems
Collimation - Sky and Telescope on Newtonian collimation. Excellent SCT collimation page by Thierry Legault.
SQM Reading - The SkyQuality meter measures magnitude per Arc Second. Learn about mag per ArcSec
Limiting Magnitude Calculator - Calculate expected limited magnitude for the entered telescope, sky, and observer specs
Atmospheric Effects - Extinction (loss of magnitude due to atmosphere) and Refraction is explained nicely
Image Scale Calc - Enter telescope and CCD sensor specs and calculate arcSec per Pixel
Books, Charts, Software And Gadgets
'DeepMap 600' by Will Tirion and Steve Gottlieb (Offered through Orion Telescopes)
You have to get this map. Period. This map I
use more than any other paper reference for planing a night of observing,
discussing locations of sky highlights, or just learning
For People who are just starting out
'Pocket Sky Atlas' from Sky And Telescope and by Roger W. Sinnott
Highly recommended set of charts nicely organized that contains detailed and
well done charts for medium to bright deep sky targets.
'Planisphere' Currently by 'Datalizer'
sort of analog computer for the night skies meant for stargazers who
are just starting out. You dial in the date and time and
this shows you what should be above you in the night sky once you
orient it with the north star. This is a good tool for observers
just starting out who may be not used to the night sky and a chart may
be overkill. Orion telescope basically this same tool.
Stellarium - A free but very useful sky atlas that is supported on most platforms.
Virtual Moon Atlas - A free but very useful computer program to observe the moon
'NightWatch' by Terence Dickinson Fourth Edition has southern charts and pics as well
'DeepSky Companions: The Messier Objects' by Stephen James O'Meara
good book for field and general detailed info. The Messier
Objects are generally the 1st targets people start with as they are
'Skywatching' by David H. Levy
Both are helpful for astronomers taking their initial
steps in stargazing and both contain simple low-res charts as
well as large amounts of useful tips.
'AstroSpotter' by Mark Johnston
Ok, this is a cheap plug for my own ideas on this website ... lol. Not available in any stores ...
For People Once They Get Hooked
Computer Star Charts - MegaStar
is a PC only tool with a feature rich and my choice as it integrates
with RealSky DSS images (RealSky is sadly out of print) The Sky is very popular as a full featured star chart program. SkyTools
is a powerful charting program although the inteface is often
non-intuitive it has amazing avility to accuratley show star fields.
There are several more choices.
'SkyAtlas 2000.0' by Wil Tirion and Roger W. Sinnott
Must-have double-size field reference made larger with
each of it's fold-out maps (total of 26 huge maps plus several maps for
detailed looks at some areas of large interrest). There are
other references of an even more extensive nature but this is a classic.
'Night Sky Observer's Guide' by George Kepple and Glen Sanner
popular and wonderful 3-volume large format book set. North sky
Autumn/Winter, North sky Spring/Summer and Southern skies.
'UranoMetria 2000.0' by Tirion, Rappaport, Remaklus
Two large format book volumes (North and South) that are 1.85cm per
degree for main charts and loaded with objects and stars to mag 11.
This is a must have for people who really enjoy this hobby.
An excellent complement to your choice of computer atlas.
Note that version 2 is greatly improved over version 1.
'Celestial Sampler' by Sue French
Great tours of sections of the sky that is aimed at
observers that have perhaps found and observed all of the Messier
objects and are in pursuit of the many deep-sky objects.
'Advanced Skywatching' by Robert Burnham, Alan Dyer, David H. Levy and more
tours of sections of the sky that is aimed for observers that have
perhaps found and observed all of the Messier objects and are in
pursuit of the many deep-sky objects.
'Herschel 400 Observing Guide' by Steve O'Meara
Extensive coverage and pictures of the 400 deepsky objects
called the Herschel I list. I feel the book could have
been organized in a more friendly way but once you find the actual
objects you are seeking it is a great reference (for a book).
This page was last
updated on 2/4/2012