Longmont Astronomical Society

      

Astronomy Resources

Websites about astronomy and observing

Also see more resources listed on our Educational and Community Outreach page.

The Astronomical League is an umbrella organization for astronomy groups around the country.

The Astronomical League Observing Programs are challenging and educational.  These programs are a fantastic way to enhance your knowledge of the night sky. LAS member Mike Hotka has offered to mentor anyone who would like to work through any of the AL Observation Programs. 

The AL also offers Citizen Science opportunities for those who would like to help further scientific knowledge. There are three levels, each involving a different kind of participation.

Longmont Astronomical Society members automatically become Astronomical League members and are eligible to participate in AL activities. 

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.

Tonight’s Sky is a video series of constellations you can observe in the night sky.

Astronomy Now bills itself as the United Kingdom's largest astronomy magazine.

Space provides news ospace exploration, innovation and astronomy.

Universe Today is 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.

Cloudy Nights is a tremendous resource for amateur astronomers.  It has articles, forums and classifieds.  If you are new to astronomy, the Beginners Forum is a great place to start learning.


'No observational problem will not be solved by more data.'

         -Vera Rubin, astronomer who in 1980 provided evidence for the existence of dark matter


      

Articles from the LAS Newsletter Archives

Observing: How to locate the object you want to study; presentation by Michelle Blom and Sven Schmidt on using the star hopping method, from the April 2019 issue, page 10

All about comets and how to view them, with links to more information; summary of a talk given to the LAS by Paul Robinson in the July 2020 newsletter, page 27

SeeingTransparency and Light in the Night sky, summary of presentation by Steve Albers, August 2019, page 4

There is a related article on page 2 of the July, 2019 newsletter with a helpful illustration of how turbulence affects seeing.

Observing the Moon, recap of a talk by author and LAS member Andrew Planck, from April of 2018, page 5, and from March of 2015, page 3

Library Telescope Program

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.

From Members of the Longmont Astronomical Society

Book

‘Exploring Amateur Astronomy; Goal Oriented Observing’, by Mike Hotka 

Mike became an amateur astronomer in 1965, and was awarded the Astronomical League’s Platinum Master Observer award in September, 2017. He has been an LAS member since 1995. His website, www.mikehotka.com  contains a wealth of knowledge on his observing adventures. There is a review of his book in the LAS newsletter of November, 2018, page 20.


Book

‘What's Hot on the Moon Tonight’, by Andrew Planck

Andrew plays several musical instruments, is a former middle school French teacher, and has been an amateur astronomer for over 50 years. In the words of one reviewer, the book tells you what to look at, what is interesting, and provides the observer with a challenge or two.


Astronomy Tech

‘Our Galaxy’ app, by Bill Tschumy

As described in the App Store: ‘Our Galaxy’ helps you visualize the 3-dimensional locations of deep sky objects in and around our galaxy, and provides you with an understanding of their physical properties. It addition, it illustrates the structural components of the Galaxy, including the thin disk, thick disk, galactic bulge and stellar halo…

You can read a review of the app here.

Science Project ideas for students, and anyone interested in astronomy

Galaxy Zoo recruits volunteers to classify galaxies according to their shapes. This helps scientists to understand how the galaxies were formed. 

On NASA's Citizen Science site you can help NASA scientists with various space and earth science projects. Some are for individuals, some are for groups. Many don't require special equipment or expertise, but some do. Volunteers can help discover planets using NASA's TESS mission, assess the health of coral reefs, make environmental observations through Globe Observer, help detect comets, and more.


Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) is a Denver-based non profit that launches high altitude balloon experiments on behalf of universities, colleges, high schools and middle schools.  The EOSS charter is to “Promote science and education through high altitude balloons and amateur radio.” 

Read about a Solar Eclipse Balloon Photography Project in the LAS Newsletter of September, 2018, page 11.


The Astronomical League has a variety of Observing and Citizen Science programs (see above).

Here is an article on the Citizen Scientist program from our May, 2020 newsletter, page 4.

   

Links to help you plan your observing sessions

Clear Sky Chart  This site depicts tables of various factors that will affect your sky viewing. You can get information on viewing in many places in Canada, the US and parts of Mexico.

Weather forecast for locales around the US, and related information

International Dark Sky Association: how to find places with less light pollution, how you can help keep them dark, and related topics 

Jet Stream Forecast This is one of several sites that shows the location of the jet stream.

How does the jet stream affect stargazing? A very informative article about what can come between you and good stargazing


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.



Sky View CafĂ© 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. 

Just for fun

How many people are in space right now?  

     Who are they?

          And how did they get there?


‘‘Your angle of approach on a space toilet is important…it’s a docking maneuver.’             

-Mary Roach, author of ‘Packing for Mars’


What is a Stratobowl, and what is its connection to space science? (It’s not a guitar; that’s a Stratocaster. And it’s not a space-themed serving dish.)

Click here to find out

You might enjoy the story of the woman scientist who was the first person to see the famous picture of our planet as just a pale blue dot. 


“I became the producer of only one record in my career, and only two copies of it were made, and they were both hurled off the Earth.”


-Timothy Ferris, Voyager spacecraft record producer


Space-related movies that you might like

The Farthest: Voyager in Space. Fran Bagenal, a frequent presenter at LAS meetings, is featured in this documentary about Voyager I and II

The Dish: True story! A TV crew in Australia and a NASA supervisor rush to fix a malfunctioning antenna in time to globally televise the Apollo 11 landing. Sam Neill, Patrick Warburton

October Sky: The true story of Homer Hickam Jr. He’s the son of a miner, but wants to build rockets. Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

Contact: based on the book by Carl Sagan. Stars Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey

The Martian: An astronaut gets left behind on Mars and has to figure out how to survive until a spacecraft returns. Based on the excellent book by Andy Weir. Contains adult language. But hey, if you were stranded and alone on Mars, you’d swear too…


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The Longmont Astronomical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O.Box 806, Longmont, CO 80502-0806, USA

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