By Jesse Richuso
Want to learn more about astronomy from the comfort of your own desk chair? Here are my top 10 favorite websites (in no particular order):
www.stellarium.org - Stellarium is a free program that simulates the night sky on your computer. You can choose any location on Earth, a date and time, and you'll be presented with a simulated sky. Stellarium also allows you to zoom in on the night sky. I recommend zooming in on Jupiter or Saturn. I use this frequently, especially to cram right before a planetarium presentation.
www.shatters.net/celestia/ - Similar to Stellarium, it simulates the night sky. It's not as user friendly as Stellarium, but Celestia lets you virtually fly through the Universe. So, that's pretty cool.
www.heavens-above.com - Heavens Above is a website that allows you to get information about your local night sky. Just put in your home town, and you can create customized sky charts, see what time planets are rising, and find out what times certain satellites, such as the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope, will be visible.
www.space.com - My favorite site for the latest in astronomy and space exploration news. Very up to date, well organized, and well written. There are a lot of advertisements (for everything from Barack Obama to spacecraft ring tones), but it's worth it.
marsrover.nasa.gov - Check out NASA's Mars Rover website to see what Spirit and Opportunity are up to millions of miles away on the surface of Mars.
www.nasa.gov/phoenix - The Phoenix lander touched down on Mars in May, and should operate for at least three months. It will analyze arctic Martian soil. See what its latest findings are.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomy - Wikipedia is a great resource for learning more about just about any topic. Check out the astronomy page, and I'm sure the links will lead you on a wild goose chase of learning fun.
www.telescopes.com - My go-to website if I get a question about purchasing a telescope. Customer reviews and a big selection make this one of the best places to buy a telescope on the Internet.
apod.nasa.gov - Astronomy picture of the day. Check out an interesting new astronomy picture every day.
www.moreheadplanetarium.org - My favorite planetarium.
- Jesse Richuso, Educator, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center