Favorite Sites

I've been grading today and cleaning up my bookmarks and decided to post some links to some of my favorite sites in hopes that others may find them useful.

is a wonderful site to find logs on the Messier, Herschel 400, ARP Peculiar Galaxies, Caldwell Catalog, Double Stars, Globular Cluster, Comet and a Lunar Log Book. You can download these and all materials from this site for free. The site has some wonderful finder charts for these objects as well. I really like this site. is a fun place to go and see what is being found in terms of supernova. Sometimes you'll find one that is in a good location for observing and in the limiting magnitude of your scope. Then you can have the fun of chasing one down, but don't wait unless you have a large scope. is a wonderful way to sign up for free and register, and then try to link up with others in your area. Started by a member of he's done a really good job of setting this up. Hope others use it to link up.

Astronomic Viewing is a good site with some good explanations about what seeing, transparency are and factors that help in those things. Discusses night vision etc.

Seeing and Transparency a review from CloudyNights is an excellent source and provides good explanations of seeing and transparency.

Seasonal Best Planetaries Do you like finding and observing planetary nebula? This is the site for you listing many of the best planetaries that are available for viewing by season of the year and by hemisphere.

Sean's Astronomy Shop Every been asked or seen a post on the difference between a 6 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch reflector? Here's a decent example. Every need to create a list of what your going to observe based on what's up there? This site helps you to do so and to plan your session. Wonderful tool.

John Bortle's Light Pollution Scale. Posted on NOVAC's site, this helps you to understand what people mean by a red zone, a black zone, a green zone etc.

Dark Sky Finder Using the Bortle scale you can find where around you has good dark locations. The problem though is the information used to make the maps (as I understand it) are rather old and outdated. So the maps may not reflect what is in your area due to population growth (new home development, commercial development etc). This link takes you to where you can estimate the limiting magnitude by looking at what stars you can see in a constellation. The problem with this is your eyes may be better than my eyes, but my eyes may be better than my friends eyes so though we are all at the same location, we may see things differently.

Tom T's Small Wonders Tom is a admin over at CloudyNights and has a series of articles of items to hunt for by constellation. There are difficult ones as well. If you grow tired of chasing a list, take a break and spend an evening or two doing one these guides, their fun!

American Association of Variable Star Observers Wonderful site on variable stars observing and projects that you can join depending on what telescope you use to observe.

Carbon Stars brought by the North Central Kansas Astronomical Society. Carbon stars are wonderfully color stars that are burning carbon and thus have a color from a oragne-red to a deep blood red. Wonderful objects to hunt down and I spend time during the waxing and wanning gibbous looking these up.

Jet Stream Analysis Not an astronomy site but it shows you what is happening to the jet stream and that usually tells you about weather and seeing conditions.

Citizen Sky Help solve the mystery of epsilon Aurigae and other items. Read the dialogue box. Think your advance observer? Here's one from Citizen Sky: Brian is leading a mini-campaign on zeta Aurigae. It is undergoing a short eclipse (compared to epsilon Aurigae) with a dip of only 0.1 mag sometime this month. Thus it will be quite a feat for even advanced observers. Up to the challenge? This is geared more for those using photo equipment and not visual but go to the link and check it out if you want.

Messier Items. TUMOL will help you to create charts and log your Messier challenge. Messier 45 is a wonderful site with a chart and the STSci image of the object your going after. Also has it for the Herschel 400. A very good site.

U.S. Navy Observatory Sun Rise/Set, Moon Rise/Set, Astronomical Twilight. You can create a chart based on where you live (use a nearby major US city) to get the sun rise/set and moon rise/set table. Helpful in planning.

Observing the Night Sky
: Wonderful site that has sketches that are realistic and a monthly paper on what objects to see that night.

SAC's 110 Best of the NGC download chart. Make sure to make your contribution to them if you download! Wonderful catalog to do after you finish the Messier and one I would like to sketch through and do a blog on. Many items are in the Herschel 400.

The NGC/IC Project One of the best sites for DSO observers on the web. Want to see the object? Go there. Want a description of what it looks like? Go there. Want a chart to get there? Go there. Use this site when planning your observations.

Astronomical Sketching Resources Online from Jeremy Perez's terrific Belt of Venus site. A few links may not work, but if you want to learn to sketch, spend time here and look into the book he help write on Astronomical Sketching which is in the upper right. Wonderful site from a truly courteous and gracious man. I like that Jeremy has left his first sketches up and it provides hope to people like me that perhaps if I continue to work at it, I just may improve. Then again, who am I kidding!

Deep Sky Archive is a first rate site with first rate sketches, mainly from participants in Finland who I believe started the site. Want to see some great sketches that are accurate? This is the site for you.

Vevrhova Messier Sketches One of the best set of images of the Messier sketches I've seen.

Globular Cluster Sketching Tutorial by Eric at Cloudy Nights who is one of the moderators of the Sketching forum there. Wonderful tutorial on sketching these objects.

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers or AAAA Some things are free on this site, some you have to purchase. I use the observing forms from this site though as I have enjoyed them, they are free for download.

Just one more today as I need to head out to my dark site for a cold, but I hope a productive night of observing.

Saguaro Astronomy Club downloads
. Lots of things here that can help you out.

Sometime I'll post more of what I have found over the last several years. Enjoy, hope someone finds something useful and clear skies to you.