American Association of Variable Star Observers

The AAVSO was founded in 1911 at Harvard College Observatory to coordinate variable star observations made largely by amateur astronomers. In 1954, the AAVSO became an independent, private research organization. Today with members in more than 40 countries, over 10 million observations to date, and headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, it is the world's largest association of variable star observers in existence.

Asteroid Watch

For all things asteroid-related, including downloadable widget to monitor the next asteroid close approach!

Astronomical Art

Run by former astronomer turned illustrator and writer Mark A. Garlick, is brimming with more than 160 examples of Garlick's astronomically accurate space art. For those interested in his astronomy books, which he writes as well as illustrates, check out The artist accepts commissions and licenses his images for publication in books and magazines.

Aurora Watch

The aurora borealis (or northern lights) is a spectacular natural phenomenon which can occasionally be seen in the night sky over Britain. Once seen, it is never forgotten. This Web site provided by Lancaster University's Ionosphere and Radio Propagation Group offers a free Aurora Alert e-mail service to warn you whenever aurorae are likely to be seen across the British Isles. These alerts can be forwarded to your mobile 'phone as a text message, so you will know when to look out for aurorae wherever you are.

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British Astronomical Association

Formed in 1890, the British Astronomical Association has an international reputation for the quality of its observational and scientific work. Membership is open to all persons interested in astronomy.

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Campaign for Dark Skies

The Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) was set up by concerned members of the BAA in 1989 to counter the ever-growing tide of sky-glow which has tainted the night sky over Britain since the 1950s, mostly as a result of poorly aimed streetlights and floodlights emitting light above the horizontal into the sky, but nowadays increasingly because of vastly over-powered and poorly-mounted household security lights, and sports facility lights. CfDS has grown into a network of over 120 volunteer local officers, who work to convince their local councils and organisations of the benefits of well-directed lighting.


Gary W. Kronk's website offers a wealth of information relating to the study and observation of these fascinating and ephemeral objects.

The Craig Telescope

The story of London's lost leviathan. Here you will find all you need to know of this eccentric telescope, including its history, its engineering, some of its observations, the difficulties of its handling and operation and even download a visitors pack

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Digital Camera Astrophotography

Amateur astronomers everywhere are becoming digital camera astrophotographers and the results are astounding. The Digital Camera Astrophotography List is the place where those, both new and accomplished at this rewarding and exciting endeavour, exchange ideas, perfect techniques, and help each to achieve digital camera images of astronomical proportions.

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Education Supplement

To accompany our Education Focus in the August 2011 issue of Astronomy Now, here's a list of the univerisites and courses featured with direct links to the univeristy websites. For more details and additional advice on choosing courses, pick up a copy of the magazine!

Ephemeris Generator

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's HORIZONS On-Line Solar System Data and Ephemeris Computation Service provides access to key solar system data and flexible production of highly accurate ephemerides for solar system objects — 163000+ asteroids and comets, 128 natural satellites, 9 planets, the Sun, L1, L2, select spacecraft, and system barycentres.
Please note: this service is intended for experienced observers requiring very accurate observational data. If you just wish to see how the planets or their moons will look at any given instant, use the JPL Solar System Simulator below.

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Federation of Astronomical Societies

Formed in 1974, the FAS was conceived as a sort of union of astronomical societies, groups, and individuals, liasing together, where practicable, for their mutual benefit. A list of federation aims was drawn up which included such items as the compilation of lists of people prepared to give talks, the encouragement of the teaching of astronomy in educational establishments, the giving of advice on problems commonly encountered by astronomical societies, and so on.

Faulkes Telescope Project

This is the Faulkes Telescope Project, home of telescopes for astronomy education in the U.K. The project makes a robotic telescope in Hawaii, and another one in Australia, available to students enabling them to carry out their own research in astronomy, working with local universities and providing them with inspirational science activities.

Australian Ice in Space (Southern Hemisphere)
Cloudy Nights
She is an astronomer
Society for Popular Astronomy
SBIG discussion group
Stargazers Lounge
UK Astro imaging forum
Yahoo Groups Search keywords like 'telescope' or 'astronomy' for thousands of useful websites and forums.

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Gallery — Astronomy Picture of the Day

NASA's APOD offers a visually stunning way to discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. There is an extensive searchable archive.

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Heavens Above!

The aim of Chris Peat's Web site is to provide you with all the information you need to observe satellites such as the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle, spectacular events such as the dazzlingly bright flares from Iridium satellites as well as a wealth of other spaceflight and astronomical information.

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International Space Station (ISS)

Our own alerts page gives predictions on a daily basis when the ISS is visible from the British Isles. However, should you wish to track the Space Station from elsewhere in the world, this link will give you the necessary data.

Iris processing software

Downloads and notes.

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Welcome to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology. There has never been a more exciting time for JPL than now, with exciting missions spread throughout the solar system. Use this Web site to chart this time of unprecedented challenge and exploratory adventure.

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Keck Observatory

From a remote outpost on the summit of Hawaii's dormant Mauna Kea volcano, astronomers at the W. M. Keck Observatory probe the deepest regions of the universe with unprecedented power and precision. Their instruments are the twin Keck Telescopes, the world's largest optical and infrared telescopes.

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Lunar and Planetary Institute

The Lunar and Planetary Institute is a focus for academic participation in studies of the current state, evolution, and formation of the solar system. The Institute provides a computing centre, extensive collections of lunar and planetary data, an image-processing facility, an extensive library, education and public outreach programs.

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Meteor Showers and Comets

Gary W. Kronk's Web site offers a wealth of information relating to the study and observation of these fascinating and ephemeral objects.

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Near-Earth Objects

Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth's neighbourhood. This NASA Web site offers a wealth of information concerning these fascinating and potentially hazardous bodies.

National Schools Observatory

The National Schools' Observatory (NSO) offers U.K. schools the most exciting opportunity to observe the universe through the world's largest robotic telescope sited in the Canary Isles.

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Occultations by the Moon

One of the most beautiful sights to behold in the night sky is the Moon passing in front of a planet or a bright zodiacal star. Fortunately, this is a relatively regular occurrence. We always publish the best of these events visible from the British Isles each month on this Web site, but observers further afield may wish to see what is predicted for their locality at the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) Web site.

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For many people living in cities and heavily light-polluted areas, the only way to get a feel for the awe-inspiring majesty of the night sky is to visit a planetarium. Fortunately, the U.K. has a number that you can visit, some of which are listed here:

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Quasars are enigmatic and extremely distant objects that may emit as much energy as hundreds of ordinary galaxies, yet look very much like a star. They are believed to be the bright centres of galaxies where matter is being consumed by a massive black hole. The Department of Physics at Virginia Tech. has a great frequently asked questions page for quasars and other perplexing bodies.

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Radio Astronomy — Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Lovell Radio Telescope has stood proudly over the Cheshire Plain for over 40 years. It is the flagship of the Jodrell Bank Observatory which is part of the School of Physics and Astronomy of The University of Manchester. Jodrell Bank is also a place of wonder and inspiration for the 140,000 who visit the Science Centre each year.

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Second hand equipment

Second hand telescopes and equipment.

She is an astronomer

Cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the She is an astronomer initiative aims to provide information to female professional and amateur astronomers, students, and those interested in the gender equality problem in science and provide a focal point and forum for women in astronomy.

Society for Popular Astronomy

There's so much happening in the skies above. The Society for Popular Astronomy brings the excitement of the universe to everyone. Whether you are young or old, a beginner or an experienced skywatcher, you'll get a great deal from the SPA — Britain's brightest astronomical society!

Solar System Simulator

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides this visually-stunning and accurate means to simulate a view of the major bodies of the solar system as seen from one another — or their principal moons — for any specified date and time.

Southern Hemisphere observers

Australian Ice in Space, the largest online community in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Telescopes — how to choose and use them.

With a huge range of quality telescopes, binoculars and accessories currently available at competitive prices, there's never been a better time to get started in astronomy. But with so much choice, where does the beginner start? Our advice is to first seek out experienced telescope users from a local astronomical society (see the Federation of Astronomical Societies). Alternatively, you may wish to consult the comprehensive series of articles here.

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Usenet — uk.sci.astronomy discussion group

If you're new to the hobby and don't happen to live close to an astronomical society, it can be hard to find satisfactory answers to your many questions. Fortunately, the Internet gives us access to an enormous virtual community in the form of the Usenet — discussion forums covering tens of thousands of subjects. U.K. astronomers wishing to chat about everything from the weather, new discoveries, cosmology, astrophotography and observing, to telescope hints and tips and much, much more can be found here.
Please note: Astronomy Now is not responsible for the content of these external Usenet groups.

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Variable stars

See the Web site of the American Association of Variable Star Observers above.

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Weather — will it be clear tonight?

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to pursue an interest in observational astronomy from the British Isles! However, does provide a nocturnal cloud cover prediction service. All you need to do is enter your U.K. postcode and you can receive an hour-by-hour forecast for the night ahead.

Astronomy Now Writers' Guide

If you are interested in writing for Astronomy Now magazine, please download our writers' guide for information.

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X-Rays — NASA's Chandra Observatory

NASA's Chandra Observatory is a space telescope that allows scientists from around the world to obtain unprecedented X-Ray images and spectra of violent, high-temperature events and objects to help us better understand the structure and evolution of our universe.

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Yerkes Observatory

Yerkes is a 100-year-old observatory (owned by the University of Chicago) with five research telescopes, one of which is the largest refractor in the world. This virtual tour is designed to not only show you what kinds of things you would see on a real tour, but also to give you a little history and show you a little of what goes on behind the scenes.

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Zodiacal Light

The Zodiacal Light (or 'false dawn') is a faint, roughly conical beam of light seen either to the east before dawn or to the west after dusk. For Northern Hemisphere observers blessed with dark skies, the best time to see it in the morning is around the September equinox, or in the evening around the March equinox. It is caused by sunlight scattered by dust particles orbiting the Sun in the plane of the ecliptic.

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Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.

Take the tour!
A 100-page special edition from the creators of Astronomy Now magazine, The Grand Tour of the Universe takes readers from one end of the Universe to the other and, in doing so, asks the question "just how big is the Universe?"

Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.

Starry Night
Explore the Universe with these new versions of the award-winning Starry Night Software. Available now from the Astronomy Now Store.

Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!

Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.


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