Great Resource for Stargazers
Posted April 1, 2008 11:03 a.m. EDT
As we continue our space theme on Siteseeing this week, here's a great way to do some stargazing from your computer -- or better yet, augment your real stargazing with some knowledge about the universe.
Wikisky has detailed starmaps of the known universe, including over 500 million celestial objects. Click on any object for all kinds of information -- and I mean all kinds. There are lots of words I don't know. If you want to go deeply into the subject, it's on Wikisky. Still, there is plenty of good information for the beginner.
In addition to the map, Wikisky includes real photos of the sky. Click on the SDSS icon in the left upper corner to see a high-resolution photograph of that part of the sky.
You can also enter the name of an object or its catalog number to find it in the sky. Gridlines and constellation markers will help you locate the object in the night sky. The site also includes a spot for you to enter your location and see what objects are in the sky above you!
UPDATE: Elizabeth Gardner says SkyandTelescope.com, which is the Web site for the well-known astronomy magazine, has a great interactive star map. Registration is required.