Stargazing Resources - Our Guides To Observing the Night Sky

Stargazing Resources – Our Guides To Observing the Night Sky

In most bookstores and libraries, there is a large amount of literature on stargazing and astronomy. Subscribing to a magazine like Sky & Telescope or Astronomy, which contain star charts, planet-finding charts, astrophotographs, and observation advice, as well as other stargazing materials, is an excellent choice if you want to improve your stargazing skills.

Amateur Astronomy Clubs

Joining a local astronomy club is a terrific opportunity to learn from seasoned astronomers, try out new gear, and save money on magazines and books. On weekends near the New Moon, most clubs organize regular observing sessions.

Astronomy Software

By checking up Moon phases, planet movements, and the positions of stars and other objects for any point in time—past, present, or future—software applications make it simple to plan your stargazing activities. You can even use some software to operate your telescope and an associated camera. The following are some of the most popular shows:

  • Starry Night® (by Imaginova): A planetarium program with different versions for amateurs of different levels
  • RedShift™ (by Maris Technologies): A planetarium program with telescope control
  • SkyMap Pro (by SkyMap Software): A planetarium program and comprehensive collection of star charts
  • MaxIm DL™ (by Diffraction Limited): A camera control and astronomical imaging program

Online Stargazing Resources

These websites will help you figure out when and where you can find a variety of objects and events in the night sky:

  • International Occultation Timing Association: The best site for information about upcoming occultations. See
  • Heavens Above: Info on locating manmade satellites and spacecraft. See
  • Clear Sky Clock: A tool to predict how clear the sky will be in your location during the course of a night. See
  • JPL Horizons System: A tool for generating ephemerides of planets, satellites, asteroids, and comets. See
  • This Week’s Sky at a Glance: A weekly description of Moon phases, visible planets, and transient objects, issued by Sky & Telescope magazine. See
  • Clubs & Organizations: A database provided by Sky & Telescope magazine to help you search for amateur astronomy clubs, museums, planetariums, observatories, and other organizations in regions across the world. See
  • Telescopes 101: This guide to telescopes provides good information for when you’re trying to decide which telescope and accessories to buy. See
  • Messier Catalog: A guide to locating nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. See
  • Aurora Forecast: A site, run by the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute, that provides daily predictions of the solar wind and advice on when to catch good displays of the northern lights. See
  • NASA’s Eclipse Home Page: Information about the times and best viewing locations of future (and past) eclipses, as well as information about how to view them safely. See

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