Astronomy is looking up

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 2/28/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

Sunrise/Sunset/Twilight and Moonrise/Moonset/Phasestar gazerToday's Moon is shown on the left. Click on it and you can obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon's phase for any location and date. Have you recently looked up at the night sky and wondered what that bright object is? Is it a star or planet? Do you want to know what the surface of Mars looks like? The links below will provide you with spectacular images of astronomical objects, maps of the night sky, predictions of satellite passes, information on meteor showers and comets, the "weather" in space, the exact time anywhere in the world, a list of the world's largest telescopes, authoritative information on many astronomical topics, and permit you to make your own astronomical observations with an on-line telescope. You can get the answer to an astronomical question by consulting a NASA scientist on-line.

If your favorite astronomical site is not here, e-mail the Web address (URL) and we will consider the site for inclusion in our list.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day

  • This Week's Sky
    • Tonight's Sky Map
      Enter your zip code and get a map of the sky from your viewpoint. Click on a planet, star, Moon, or Sun for more information.
    • Sky & Telescope
      This week's astronomical highlights and an interactive sky chart.
    • Sun and Moon
      You can obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon's phase by specifying the date and location.
    • Current Sky Information
      From the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
    • Science at NASA (Astronomy).
      Astronomy news.
    • Skyhound
      Timely information for the observer.
    • Boston Clear Sky Clock
      A prediction of when Boston, Massachusetts, will have good weather for astronomical observing. Forecast data comes from the Canadian Meteorological Center.
  • Telescopes
    • The World's Largest Telescopes
      The largest telescopes under operation, under construction, and under study. Provides links to each telescope's Web site.
    • MicroObservatory (On-line telescopes)
      MicroObservatory is a network of five automated telescopes that can be controlled over the Internet. The telescopes were developed at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and were designed to enable students and teachers nationwide to investigate the wonders of the deep sky from their classrooms.
    • Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston
      The Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, Inc.(ATMoB) is an amateur astronomy club devoted to the study of the stars, observing, and telescope making. It was originally established in 1934 and is now one of the oldest and largest general interest astronomy clubs in the nation.
  • Time and Calendars
    • Official Time
      The current official time from the U.S. Naval Observatory.
    • Local Times Around the World
      Lists most of the world's countries, and many of its islands, with a pointer to the local time in the region.
    • Calendars
      All you ever wanted to know about calendars.
    • Julian Day and Civil Date Calculator
      Converts Gregorian calendar date to Julian Day Number and day of week. Careful: Julian days commence at Greenwich noon not at midnight.
  • Planets, Comets & Meteors
    • The Nine Planets (A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System)
      The Nine Planets is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information.
    • Comets & Meteor Showers
      News & information, professional & amateur observations and historical research.
    • Solar System Live (The interactive Orrery of the Web)
      You can view the entire Solar System, or just the inner planets (through the orbit of Mars). Controls allow you to set time and date, viewpoint, observing location, orbital elements to track an asteroid or comet, and a variety of other parameters.
  • Astronomical Images
    • Hubble Gallery
      View images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
    • Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
      X-ray images, press releases, guide to X-ray astronomy, and more.
    • Wide-field Images
      A unique collection of wide-field astronomical photographs, mostly made with the telescopes of the Anglo-Australian Observatory by David Malin.
  • Artificial Satellites and Space Science
    • Heavens Above
      If you're interested in satellites, this is the right place! All the information you need to observe satellites such as the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Provides other spaceflight and astronomical information.
    • J-Track Satellite Tracking
      Graphical display of orbiting artificial satellites. Page provided by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
    • Space Weather
      Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.
    • Science at NASA
      Space science, astronomy, living in space, earth science, biological & physical sciences, and beyond rocketry.
    • Space Daily
      Up-to-date news about the space program.
    • More Space Science Links
  • General Astronomical Information

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: