WebStars: Astrophysics in Cyberspace

This list of astronomical resource sites is intended as a resource for users who have a general interest in astronomical topics. For a translation of any acronyms you may have seen in our pages check out our acronyms page.

Last updated Friday, 26-Jul-2013 13:51:05 EDT.
Curator: Meredith Gibb

Table of Contents

In the News
The Solar System
Exploring Mars
Solar Eclipse
Comets, meteors, and asteroids
      Extrasolar planets
Astronomical images
Space exploration programs
      Astronomy magazines
Hypermedia textbooks
History of Astronomy
Astronomy organizations
Other astronomy sites

In the News

Read the latest NASA news!


The Solar System

Planetary Exploration
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has information on missions around the solar system: past, present, future, and proposed.
The SOHO gallery
SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is a joint NASA/ESA mission to study the Sun during the quiet portion of the solar cycle. SOHO features twelve instruments measuring the conditions from the core to the surface of the Sun, as well as its extended atmosphere and direct sampling of the solar wind. The SOHO gallery features images and information from each of the instruments.
Project Galileo
Galileo is a space probe to Jupiter, whose mission ended in September 2003.
The Cassini Mission
Cassini is a space probe to Saturn launched in October, 1997. It arrived at Saturn on July 1, 2004 and the primary mission will continue until June 2008. The Online Resources include information about the Cassini mission, including images, status reports, and press releases about Saturn, its moons (including the Huygens probe of Titan), and the amazing rings.
New Horizons
The Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto and Charon ­ a "double planet" system and the last in our solar system to be visited by spacecraft. The mission will then visit one or more Kuiper Belt Objects, in the region beyond Neptune. The Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission will launch in 2006, fly by Pluto and Charon as early as 2015, and pass the Kuiper Belt Objects by 2026. Sending a spacecraft on this long journey will help us answer basic questions about these bodies¹ surface properties, geology, interior makeup, and atmospheres.


Missions to Mars
The Mars Missions page at JPL includes links to all the current and near-future NASA missions to Mars. At present, this includes Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit & Opportunity), and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The site also includes the latest images, news stories, and links to a mirror site near you.
Images Suggest Recent Sources of Liquid Water on Mars
Gullies seen on martian cliffs and crater walls in a small number of high-resolution images from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) suggest that liquid water has seeped onto the surface in the geologically recent past.
The Red Planet: A Survey of Mars
A slide set of images of Mars, this web site has information about a wide variety of topics as captions for the pictures. This includes images of landslides, canyons, volcanoes, water erosion features, etc.

Solar Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse - Exploratorium's Webcast from Turkey
On March 29, 2006, a total solar eclipse occurred when the new moon moved directly between the sun and the earth. The moon's shadow fell on the eastern tip of Brazil, sped eastward across the Atlantic, through northern Africa, across the Mediterranean, and into Turkey, where an Exploratorium team was waiting. The Exploratorium crew transmited a live eclipse Webcast, as well as a telescope-only feed, from a Roman amphitheater in Side, Turkey. Witness the spectacular moment of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, and the sun's glorious corona (the outer part of the sun's s atmosphere) is revealed.
Solar Eclipses (2001-2010)
Fred Espenak's extensive listing of solar eclipses includes tables and maps of the decade's solar eclipses. Eclipses during 2004 include partial solar eclipses on April 19 and October 14..
NASA Eclipse 99
The main NASA page for the 1999 eclipse has a FAQ, an "Ask the Scientist" area, chat rooms, and facts about a variety of related topics: eclipses through traditions and cultures, the sun, the moon, eclipses and math connections, etc. The site includes real-time audio and video, an exploratorium, and a media area.

Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids

Deep Impact
Deep Impact is a spacecraft that traveled to comet Tempel 1 and released a small impactor, creating a hole in the side of the comet. The main spacecraft measured and observed the gas released from the crater, to discover what makes up fresh comet material, and to understand what's inside a comet. Launched in 2004, the encounter occurred on July 4, 2005.
University of Arizona's Shoemaker-Levy 9 image collection
This is perhaps the most comprehensive single site on the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July, 1994. Highlights include general information, images of the impact, computer simulations of projected impact effects, and movies of the impacts.

Planetary Alignments

Much was made of the May 5, 2000 and other planetary alignments. Doomsday advocates claimed that earthquakes, asteroids, tectonic shifts, or massive solar flares would destroy the Earth. None of this happened! Find out the facts! Even with a perfect alignment, the net planetary tide at Earth is less than one ten-thousanth as strong as the Sun's average tidal acceleration on Earth and over 20,000 times less than the tidal acceleration induced twice every day by the Moon.

The Influence of the Planets
This site discusses the influence of the planets on the tides of the Earth and includes a plot showing the planetary tides from 1980 to 2008 and clearly shows that May 5, 2000 is nothing special.
Ask an Astrophysicist
The Ask-an-Astonphysicist service has determined the effect of the alignment using Newton's Law of Gravitation, answering a question that was asked in 1996.

Extrasolar Planets (Planets around other stars)

PlanetQuest: The Search for Another Earth
Missions, news, science, gallery, and an atlas of new worlds make up much of this NASA site.
The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia
Information is available here on extrasolar planetary candidates, habitable planets, detection methods, bibliography of terms, and meetings on extrasolar planets.
EXOPLANETS: The Search for Extrasolar Planets
A comprehensive review site of all the new discoveries of and about new extrasolar planets.


THE NASA Astrobiology Institute
The NASA Astrobiology Institute represents a partnership between NASA and a number of academic or other research organizations to promote, conduct, and lead integrated multidisciplinary astrobiology research and train young researchers.
The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute
The SETI Institute serves as the home for scientific research in the general field of Life in the Universe with an emphasis on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Astronomical images

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Each day, this site features a different image of an astronomical object, accompanied by a brief descriptive explanation written by a professional astronomer. Captions have links to further information on topics related to the image. An archive of past pictures is also available.
The HEASARC's Image and Video archives
The High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center ( HEASARC) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has several archives of images and video:
Hubble Space Telescope Public Pictures
The Space Telescope Science Institute's public picture archives include the latest releases, past releases sorted by year and by subject, images from Shoemaker-Levy's impact on Jupiter, the first and second servicing missions, and "Greatest Hits" picture galleries.
Images from the Anglo-Australian Observatory
The AAO has made available a collection of spectacular color pictures created by David Malin. The photographs are cataloged by source and by type.
Welcome to the Planets
A gallery of NASA's best images from their planetary exploration programs. It has been extracted from the "Welcome to the Planets" program distributed on the Planetary Data System Educational CD-ROM.
The Messier Catalog
The French astronomer Charles Messier put together a list of fuzzy objects in the sky which might be mistaken for comets (which he was looking for), but do not move across the sky as a comet would. His famous catalog includes many of the most easily observed planetary nebulae, supernova remnants, galaxies, and star clusters. This collection of pictures with captions covers all of the 110 objects in the Messier catalog.
Space.com Space Views Image Gallery
Space.com has a large collection of space images, screen savers, wallpapers and postcards. You can submit your own images, too.

Space exploration programs

International Space Station / NASA shuttle
A new combined page of NASA's Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) information. The site has links to education and outreach material. A media library. And the latest news about the ISS the shuttle. There is also a historical look at what has gone before in the manned space program.
Planetary Exploration
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has information on missions around the solar system: past, present, future, and proposed.
Space Mission Acronym List and Hyperlink Guide
NASA Headquarters has compiled this list of space missions and their abbreviated names, with links to sites with information about those missions. The site also offers links to many alternative sites which may have more comprehensive lists of particular types of missions and/or more information.
Heavens Above
Find out when and where you can see the International Space Stations, the Shuttle, Iridium satellites or other satellites in the sky.

Astronomy magazines

Sky Online
Sky Publishing Corporation (publishers of Sky & Telescope and CCD Astronomy) offers several online services. These include expert advice for backyard stargazers, a column of tips on observing the night sky; catalogs of resources on astronomy; advertising from astronomical product vendors; a weekly news bulletin; test reports on new astronomy products; astronomical software reviews; and a calendar of astronomy club activities throughout the United States.
Astronomy.com offers daily astronomy and space news, star charts, pictures of planets, space missions, eclipse and much more. This site is associated with Astronomy Magazine.
The Astronomer
The Astronomer magazine provides up-to-date information and announcements about current events in the sky, such as newly found comets, novae, eclipses, and variable star activity. The past issues of the magazine are available, as is information and calls for observation of many celestial objects. Most items are geared towards moderately experienced amateur astronomers.
Jonathan's Space Report
The Space Report is a weekly status update on all space launches, including piloted missions and automated satellites. Back issues are available by FTP. The geostationary satellite log is also available here.
The Woman Astronomer
The Woman Astronomer, published and edited by Debra Davis, is a monthly e-zine promoting astronomy; it's about the women role-models in astronomy, past and present; and, it's about the quickly changing science, and hobby, of astronomy.
Astronomy Now
Astronomy Now, Britain's best selling astronomy magazine. Contains information on launch schedules and an extensive news archive with breaking stories. The online edition contains a few articles, as well as information on meetings and events for the European amateur astronomer.

World Wide Web Hypermedia Astronomy textbooks

Astronomy HyperText Book
Introductory undergraduate level textbook.
The Nine Planets
A textbook on the Solar System and the spacecraft that have explored it.
An astronomy course for middle/high school students
Each chapter of this textbook is an excellent introduction to the subject and includes links to more detailed resources. The reading level is geared towards younger readers, but the author does not skimp on content. Topics include Observing The Night Sky, Light Pollution, A Beginner's Guide to Binoculars & Telescopes, plus lots of pages on astronomical objects like the Sun, the Moon, stars, galaxies, quasars, and information on cosmology.
Views of the Solar System
Views of the Solar System presents a vivid multimedia adventure unfolding the splendor of the Sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and more. Discover the latest scientific information, or study the history of space exploration, rocketry, early astronauts, space missions, spacecraft through a vast archive of photographs, scientific facts, text, graphics and videos. Views of the Solar System offers enhanced exploration and educational enjoyment of the solar system and beyond.

History of Astronomy and Astrophysics

4000 years of Women in Science
Read about the contributions by women to science throughout history. Information includes biographies, photographs, and references, as well as an excellent introduction to why women's contributions deserve study.
Astronomiae Historia / History of Astronomy
A site maintained for the Working Group for the History of Astronomy, lists here include links to sites with a wide variety of historical information, including the history of astronomy, history of science, and history in general.
History of Astronomy
A list of sites around the world which have information on a number of items of historical interest, from Islamic and Greek astronomy to biographies of influential astronomers through the ages.
A Brief History of Astronomy
Gene Smith's quick overview of the importance of astronomy to early agrarian societies, and though history to the discovery of pulsars by Jocelyn Bell.
The History of High Energy Astrophysics
A chronological listing of mission launch and death dates for most high-energy astrophysics satellites, as well as other significant events in the history of astronomy. Links are included to information pages for most individual missions.

Astronomical Organizations and Societies

The American Association of Variable Star Observers
The American Astronomical Society
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The International Astronomical Union
The International Dark Sky Association
The International Occultation Timing Association
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
National Solar Observatory
The Planetary Society
The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) League
Astronomical Society of Australia
Australia Telescope National Facility
Space Research Institute (IKI)

Sites providing astronomy information

Imagine the Universe!
An educational resource for students, teachers, and the general public. Imagine the Universe! provides information on topics in astrophysics about the Structure and Evolution of the Universe. If you don't find your questions answered, you can "Ask an Astrophysicist". Material is written at a variety of reading levels from middle school to college. Teacher resources includes information on resources at the Laboratory for High-Energy Astrophysics, "Adopt an Astronomer", summer intern programs, and lesson plans. We also maintain a list of other astronomy education resources on the WWW, as well as search facilities with our site to find specific topics.
StarChild: A learning center for young astronomers
An educational resource for younger readers (from kindergarten to junior high school). StarChild has information at multiple reading levels on astronomy and space exploration.
Cosmicopia: An Abundance of Cosmic Rays (formerly the Cosmic & Heliospheric Learning Center)
Cosmicopia contains an abundance (a cornucopia, if you will) of information about cosmic rays, the Earth's magnetosphere, the Sun, space weather, and other exciting topics in space science.
The AstroWeb Consortium (NRAO site)
Several institutions around the world maintain closely related links to Astronomy resources called the AstroWeb Consortium. These links, are excellent starting points for browsing for astronomy resources.
The Galaxy Page
The University of Arizona Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) have a truly impressive list of resources through the WWW. These include resources lists on the solar system, astronomy and astrophysics (including amateur astronomy, date sources, news, periodical, software, celestial events, observatories, and more!), aerospace and astronautics (including launch vehicles, current and future satellites, shuttle schedules, etc), and future exploration (including forthcoming launch systems, the new International Space Station, and the human exploration of space.).
NASA Education resources
Here you'll find links to NASA Education News, with information on upcoming events and recent projects. Also, links are provided to NASA's educational programs, services, and curriculum support products. This site is mainly intended for educators.
Bad Astronomy
Phil Plait's wonderful site addresses bad astronomy found in movies, TV, news, and popular misconceptions. If there is misinformation in the media, he will refute it.
StarDate Online
General information on the night sky is provided and updated daily. If you're looking up in the sky and want to know what that bright planet next to the moon is, this is the site for you.
Earth & Sky
Earth & Sky is an award winning daily science radio series heard by millions of listeners on over 950 commercial and public stations and their translators throughout the United States. It can also be heard in Canada, the South Pacific and on a variety of international networks, including Armed Forces Radio, World Radio Network and Voice of America. Each day, Deborah Byrd and Joel Block discuss popular science subjects that affect our everyday lives.

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Last modified: Friday, 26-Jul-2013 13:51:05 EDT