The shadow created by a total eclipse of the sun.
Websites about astronomy and observing
The Astronomical League is an umbrella organization for astronomy groups around the country.
For articles such as an Introduction to Astronomy, Binocular Observing, Observing Clubs and more, try www.mikehotka.com
Sky and Telescope is a great resource for astronomy news, tools, basics and more.
Astronomy Now bills itself as the United Kingdom's largest astronomy magazine.
Space provides news on space exploration, innovation and astronomy.
Universe Today is a non-commercial space and astronomy news website.
Heavens Above shows predictions of satellite passes, eclipses, and more.
The Astronomy, Science and Physics Guide has many more links to resources for learning and using astronomy and physics.
Solar Eclipses and Observational Astronomy offers links to astronomy topics for readers of a range of ages. It was assembled by Legacy Power, and represents just one of a series of guides by them intended to help further science education. Big shout out to Carol and Amelia for suggesting this resource!
There are more resources on our Educational and Community Outreach page.
'No observational problem will not be solved by more data.'
-Vera Rubin, Astronomer who in 1980 provided evidence for the existence of dark matter
Podcasts about astronomy and other science topics
Fact-based, weekly discussions on topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosts Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela L. Gay explore what is known and being discovered about the universe around us.
Observing the Night Sky
Choosing a Location
Pick a place with broad horizons, e.g. reasonably clear views to the southeast, south and southwest, no tall trees or buildings blocking the lower views. There should be no street lights less than a block away in the viewing direction.
If you want to travel a bit, the Light Pollution and Dark Skies page has articles about where to find Dark Skies in Colorado, and Colorado’s IDA-designated Dark Sky Sites. This article from Colorado.com suggests 15 places to go in our state.
Will the Skies be Clear?
The National Weather Service has a very helpful weather forecast page, usually up to seven days out, and includes latitude, longitude and elevation information.Clear Sky Charts predict cloud cover, transparency, seeing and more, all of which will affect your viewing. The link here takes you to a chart for Longmont, but links to Other Charts are in the left margin of the page.
Jet Stream Forecast This is one of several sites that shows the location of the jet stream.
Related: How does the jet stream affect stargazing? A very informative article about what can come between you and good stargazing
What to Bring
It’s not absolutely necessary to have a telescope to do stargazing. A lot can be learned with binoculars or the unaided eye. But if you do want to use one and don’t have your own, the Library Telescope Program is your friend. You can check out a telescope, just like you borrow books and stuff, at several libraries in the northern Front Range.
Might be a good idea to bring bug spray. And a snack, some water, a jacket, a compass…
What to Look For
The Astro Calendar shows what can be seen in the sky each day of the month. You can change the month and your location. Clicking on the links opens a page with a detailed explanation of the event.
The LAS Newsletter also features a very educational map with stargazing tips for each month.
Sky View Café has lots of images and numerical data about what's happening in our solar system, when planets and stars are visible, images of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and more.
Remember to not use regular flashlights or smart phone lights. It’s best to use red light filters or headlights with a red light setting.
NASA's Night Sky Network has some tips for viewing, too. They’re designed for teachers, but anyone new to stargazing can learn from this page about how our eyes work.
It can take up to 30 minutes for your eyesight to maximally adjust to the dark.
You can borrow a telescope kit from the Longmont, Louisville, Broomfield and Carbon Valley public libraries. All you need is a library card. A kit includes a 4.5” reflector telescope, EZ-finder, eyepiece, red headlamp, instruction manual, guide book and a tote.
Articles from the LAS Newsletter Archives
From Members of the Longmont Astronomical Society