educational articles
Educational Articles

Astronomy: What is it?

Astronomy - Solar System

People have been mystified and fascinated by the stars in the sky since long before we can imagine. The study of astronomy has changed the course of history repeatedly and it continues to do so today.

This handy resource about astronomy will answer many questions and perhaps even tempt you to reach for the stars and enroll in a course or two.

Clubs

  • Raleigh Astronomy Club – A non-profit astronomy group in North Carolina for amateur astronomers and even beginners interested in this field.
  • Night Sky Network – Astronomy fans can find information about local clubs across the U.S. through an interactive map on this government-run page.
  • Alachua Astronomy Club – Non-professional astronomy enthusiasts can learn more about the stars and skies through this public club in Florida.
  • Houston Astronomical Society – An excellently organized club, with regular meetings, equipment training, a newsletter, member awards and several other benefits for members.
  • Baltimore Astronomical Society – Anyone with an interest in astronomy may join this Maryland club to attend monthly meetings and observation sessions, as well as additional benefits such as free or discounted tickets to local science museums, IMAX screenings and a planetarium.
  • Skyscrapers, Inc. – Skyscrapers, Inc. is a long-running amateur astronomy group in Rhode Island, originally started in 1932. New members are always welcome and do not need to have a previous knowledge of astronomy.
  • Marquette Astronomical Society – This amateur club, located in Michigan, is mostly geared towards kids and teens to help expand their knowledge of astronomy.
  • Los Angeles Astronomical Society – The LAAS is quite a large group, numbering over 300 people of all age ranges. They organize many different types of activities related to astronomy and also host an annual banquet for members.

Magazines

  • Sky & Telescope Magazine – Sky & Telescope is an online and print magazine that delivers the latest astronomy news, e-newsletters, sky charts, product reviews, tutorials and plenty more.
  • Astronomy – One of the best-known astronomy magazines publishes plenty of online content and also offers subscriptions to its print magazine. It also organizes astronomy trips for subscribers and regular contests.
  • Meteorite Times – An online magazine focused on news and information about meteorites.
  • Astronomy Now – Britain's foremost astronomy magazine regularly publishes not only news but also other articles discussing scientific and historical aspects of astronomy, reviews and reader submissions.
  • Sky News - Canadian amateur astronomers can indulge their passion with this magazine on astronomy with plenty of additional information about sky charts, regional clubs, and upcoming astronomical events.
  • StarDate Online – This magazine is an excellent tool for parents or teachers to help introduce kids to the wonders of astronomy. It includes downloadable files, lesson plans and activities, and detailed fact files about planets, solar systems and more.
  • The Astronomer Magazine – The Astronomer is targeted specifically towards amateurs and also provides back issues upon request. Readers are welcomed to submit their astronomy images for publication.
  • HubbleSite – The HubbleSite is an online magazine, offering the latest news on the Hubble telescope as well as related articles, podcasts and videos.
  • Mercury Magazine – A digital magazine published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, detailing the most up-to-date on astronomy and celestial events.

Equipment

  • Camera Corner – A store in North Carolina with a large selection of telescopic equipment and accessories.
  • Astronomics – This family-run company offers plenty of information on how to choose the right telescope and have a great selection of new and used products.
  • ScopeStuff – Telescope owners can find tons of accessories and small parts necessary for telescope repair and maintenance at this store. They also usually offer same-day shipping.
  • Celestron – This store is dedicated to all things astronomy and also offer their products through several third-party U.S. and Canadian dealers.
  • Orion Telescope & Binocular Center – A very reliable telescope company that offers product deals, web discounts, contests, and details on how telescopes function as how to select an appropriate one.
  • Meade Instruments – Meade offers plenty of different types and levels of telescopes, accessories and weather equipment.
  • Hands On Optics – Low prices and frequent deals make this store a hit with astronomy fans.
  • Anacortes Telescopes – Anacortes provides a large selection of brands and models of telescopes and related equipment for customers to choose from.
  • Scope City – Scope City offers a large amount of telescopes, accessories, mounts and other parts, as well as valuable discounts and coupons for customers.

Information/Resources

  • Nine Planets – Nine Planets offers a huge amount of information about the planets in our solar system, as well as related topics such as space technology, astronomy terms and how to observe the skies.
  • Space Telescope Science Institute Digitized Sky Survey – Astronomers can enter coordinate data into this site to generate an image of that part of the sky.
  • Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams – Amateurs and professionals alike are welcome to submit information on any new discoveries related to astronomy through this Harvard-run site.
  • NASA for Citizen Scientists – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration provides several updates for amateurs on what to look for in the skies each night, online simulators and sky calendars.
  • Background Information – Although this site is geared towards youths, it also serves as an excellent introduction for adults with little knowledge of astronomy.
  • An Educational Guide to Astronomy – Another great guide for beginners, this one contains plenty of useful illustrations, photographs and 3-D diagrams to explain concepts related to planets and solar systems.

People

  • Johannes Schedler – Schedler specializes in photography of the skies and displays several striking examples of his work through an online gallery.
  • Christopher Anderson – Anderson displays several examples of nebulae and galaxies he has shot through telescopes and also includes information about the equipment used.
  • Matthew Cook – Cook's personal page includes a vast amount of images shot as well as explanations of how to shoot astronomy images and related resources.
  • Jerry Lodriguss – Lodriguess is an astrophotographer and author of several instructional books for beginners.
  • Astronomy for Beginners – This personal page by Gavin Vincent helps beginners learn about the basics of astronomy.
  • Backyard Astro – Math Heijen helps beginners discover astronomy through helpful articles, book suggestions, a newsletter and a blog.
  • Carsten Arnholm – Arnholm documents his experiments with photography and technology through his personal website on astronomy.
  • Guillaume Dargaud – Dargaud offers an entirely different perspective on astronomy with his images from the Antarctic.
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