Astronomy Online.

May 17, 2008

WWTSam and I went to Iceland in January in search of the Northern Lights and had no luck unfortunately, but since then I’ve been looking around for astronomy stuff online, and have found a couple of really cool things, although I am sure there is much more out there. Here’s a little sample:

Google Sky: http://www.google.com/sky/ (OK for playing around)
Microsoft World Wide Telescope: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/ (Much richer, but you need to download the client, pretty cool though as it uses Microsoft’s PhotoSynth Technology)
Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/ (Open Source, multi platform Planetarium)

Each have their own merits, WWT is great for exploring and has guided tours through the universe, but Stellarium is awesome for “What is that star I can see over there” type stuff, you can also look at the sky from 2000 cities in the world and look back over the history of the solar system “What did the night’s sky look like in the time of the Pharaohs?” for example.

I was going to say: “So get out there get exploring” but maybe it should be more “stay at home, get exploring”. Aalthough nothing beats seeing the real thing, this is great stuff if you don’t have a telescope or can’t see the sky past smoggy London lights.