The Villanova University
ASTRONOMY INFORMATION PAGE
Welcome to this page of resources for beginning
astronomers. It contains information and links to other astronomy
resources on the World Wide Web, and is updated periodically to reflect
the latest astronomical happenings which you can observe in the sky or on
GENERAL ASTRONOMICAL RESOURCES ON THE WWW
The World Wide Web contains a wealth of information: data, images, ideas. To get you started, here are a few links:
- Sky Publishing Corporation
produces a magazine named "Sky and Telescope". It may be found on
most newsstands. Its WWW site is unusually comprehensive and
current. I can particularly recommend their
SkyWatch 2003 book.
magazine is also a popular newsstand publication. They also
maintain a comprehensive and current website. If you are
contemplating the purchase of a telescope or binoculars, look at
their discussion and tips.
- Learning the constellations is a wonderful experience for the family
to share. It is an adventure into astronomy, history, and mythology.
An excellent first book is "Glow in the Dark Constellations, a Field Guide for Young Stargazers". Although not currently in print, many libraries have it.
Detailed descriptions and images of the
astronomical constellations are held at this University of
- Plan to spend some time at the
Messier Page at the University of Arizona. Charles Messier (1730 - 1817) compiled a list of
objects NOT to be confused as comets, and in doing so,
inadvertently created a list of objects ideally suited for
investigation with binoculars or a small telescope. These objects
[star clusters, exploded stars, nebulae, and galaxies] are readily
seen even in urban areas.
- Comet watching can be fun, too. These dusty iceballs from space are
really important fossils from the early days (millennia) of our solar
system. The Comet Information page at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory has complete information about comets. Other space travelers, called meteoroids, occasionally
have significant "close encounters" with Earth. You can investigate
them by linking to Comets and Meteor Showers page sponsored by the American Meteor Society.
- The Earth's Moon reveals a wealth of
detail even to binoculars.
The Face of the Moon: Galileo to Apollo is an historical tour you can take on-line.
Also, there are images (zillions!), movies, and audio clips of the lunar
exporations untaken by the Europeans, Japanese, Soviets, and Americans at
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
- Everything you ever wanted to know about the planets and their
satellites can be found at the
The Nine Planets (maybe eight?) page, also at the University of Arizona.
The National Optical Astronomy
Observatory has images, links, educational programs, data
archives, and projects. The
Space Telescope Science Institute has an entire page for the
public with all the latest and greatest from our Eye in the Sky.
- One of the best space-related pages is, of course, at NASA.
- The whole family can visit a planetarium and observatory.
- The observatory at Villanova University
is open Monday through Thursday, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST
(8:00 PM to 10:00 PM EDT) whenever university classes
are in session.
- The observatory and planetarium at Eastern University
are particularly well-suited for the public.
- The Franklin Institute
offers a wide variety of programs
and facilities. Their inner-city location hampers nighttime
- As you plan for an event, watch the weather forecast. The infrared
image is particularly useful at night, when the companion visible
light image cannot be used.
- Computer planetarium/simulation packages are invaluable for understanding the
appearance of the sky and the motions of the Moon, Sun, and
planets. They can help you plan an observing session, and they can
also keep you busy on cloudy nights. There are many packages
available, both for purchase at a software outlet, or via shareware
on the Internet. For IBM-PC and compatible computers, here are a few
that you may download and play with immediately. Just run the .exe
file and it will self-extract into the component files. (Skyglobe 2.02
is the zipped windows version, and there is also Skyglobe 4 for DOS.
Version 4 contains a windows version executable, but it appears to work only in Windows 3.11
and earlier. Use SG4DOS.EXE in a DOS window.) Also, for
a large listing of software and suppliers, for a wide variety of operating
systems (PC, Mac, OS/2, X-Windows) look at the
Astrosoftware Page at the University of Arizona.
- The Astronomical Society of the Pacific sponsors
Particularly useful for teachers in the
grades 3-12 is their major publication "The Universe At Your
Fingertips, An Astronomy Activity And Resource Notebook". It is
a 2-inch high stack of ideas, activities, resources, and strategies
for bringing astronomy into the classroom.
|This page persists as a public service and a resource
for the Villanova Community and beyond.
Ryan Maloney and his dad Frank, an
astronomer at Villanova University, maintain this page.
Hardware support for this page
comes from the thoughtful generosity of
The Pew Charitable Trusts
© Frank P. Maloney