Amateur Astronomy

Local Time
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
Greenwich Sidereal Time (GST)
Local Sidereal Time (LST)

by Matt Oltersdorf

Imaging Software Observation Help Star Charts & Atlases Look-up Tools

Rather than delete inactive links they have a strikethrough.  I left these, at least temporarily, so that I can try to track them down if they still exist with a different URL. 

All of the websites are free, of course.  The "FREE" below refers to software downloads.

CAP Journal (Communicating Astronomy with the Public) This is a free journal, print or online, for those who do astronomy education for the public.

AstroCam Information about converting a webcam for astronomical imaging

Messier45 and Deep Sky Browser Browser gives starmaps and data about selected objects

Cloudy Nights Telescope reviews, telescope building, and observing notes
    Also check out Tom Trusock's Small Wonders on this site. Nice guide to small telescope objects

Sky Insight Keep in touch with others (our just eavesdrop) with newsgroups. Check on the latest space news. This site has not been updated since 2008.

Night Sky Network NASA/JPL Astronomy club network

NJ Night Sky Amateur Astronomers resource. Lots of information for the beginner and a place for veterans to share.

Newtonian Telescope design software FREE Software to help you design your Newtonian telescope.

Telescope Designer software from NOVA Optical Systems.  FREE Software to analyze your telescope design.  NOVA Optical Systems sells mirrors for your telescope building project.

Cosmic Voyage A general site for amateur astronomers by Bill Ferris. Bill Ferris has discovered many NEO's, Comets and an Asteroid.

American Association of Amateur Astronomers

Amateur Astronomer Magazine

Spectroscopy, CCD and Astronomy Everything about CCD imaging and how to do it.

Astrophotography for the Amateur Film photography may be on the way out (too bad).  Here's a place for information if you want to try it. 

Astrophotography Primer Information on astrophotography all on one page.

QuickCam astrophotography One amateurs attempts at astrophotography with an inexpensive webcam. Learn from another's experience.

Astronomy Basics from Sky & Telescope magazine

Telescope Basics from Celestron Good, overall information about telescopes.

Astronomical Data Center Find all your data here.

Amateur Radio Astronomers Take you hobby to a new level. (or is that wavelength?)

Setting Circles printout software

Hobby Space Lots of links and information on how to get involved in space/astronomy as a hobby from science fiction to building your own satellite.

Telescope Simulator  Spend a cloudy night showing a newbe how the moon, or a selection of other objects, would look if you could see it. Change eyepieces, aperture, etc.

Imaging Software

IRIS astronomical image processing software. FREE software.

StellaImage astronomical image processing software FREE TRIAL VERSION

Astra Image astronomical image processing software. FREE

AstroSnap Software for combining webcam images. FREE and PAY versions

AstroStack Software to stack video images into a still image. FREE

R-Spec  Software and grating for spectrography.  Use with your CCD or webcam.  Haven't tried it, but looks good.  (Not free.)

Observation help

Tonight's Sky Website generates an observing list according to your criteria inputs. Nicely done.

GraphDark Software to create and print rise, transit, set charts for all planets, moon, and sun.  Plus more. FREE

ACME Mapper find your lat and long.

CalSky Produce your own personal calendar of sky events. FREE

Cartes du Ceil "Sky Charts" Sky Chart/Planetarium program. FREE

CyberSky Sky Chart/Planetarium program. SHAREWARE 

Deep Sky Database Generates an observing list of the type of object selected. FREE

RTGUI "Real Time Astronomy" Observing planning with telescope control. FREE

StarGaze Sky Chart/Planetarium program. FREE

Astronomy Lab "Astronomy Lab 2 is a comprehensive astronomy prediction, graphing, and simulation program" FREE

Stig's Sky Calendar Rise - Set times for planets, the moon, etc. JAVA FREE  Offline version (not win7 64 bit compatable)

Astro Helper Astronomical viewing planning help. FREE

Astro Planner Astronomical viewing planning help. FREE TRIAL VERSION

SunTimes Sunrise/set calculator. FREE

Star Date online sun rise and set calculator. Creates screen or print version for any month. Find your latitude and longitude by zip code.

David Paul Green's Astro Software Helpful programs to help you keep track of your observing. FREE

Catskills Astronomy Club A calculator to figure out your telescopes limiting magnitude.

NGC/IC Project Information about NGC and IC galaxies. Database, Observing list generator. More.

Star Charts & Atlases

Binocular Sky  Free monthly pdf guide to binocular sky viewing.  Other information on this site also.

US Navel Observatory   Create Sun and Moon rise and set time charts specific to your location.

Skygx  FREE "The SkyGX Project is the working group title for the ongoing efforts of a small cadre of dedicated individuals to create and ultimately publish the greatest general all-sky atlas ever: " Very nice star chart creator.

Deep Sky Browser FREE

Charts from SFA Observatory (PDF) Equitorial star charts and polar charts like the ones from Sky & Telescope FREE Star chart viewer based on the SFA charts - nice!

Mag 7 Atlas Charts  Very nice set of charts in color or Black & White (PDF) FREE

Sky Maps (PDF) Printable monthly sky map. FREE

AAVSO charts for variable star observing FREE

Ultimate Messier Object Log & others. Sky maps, logbook. very versatile and useful. FREE

Look-Up Tools

Clear Sky Clock Go here to find out what the next 24 hours will bring to your sky.  Fairly reliable sky conditions forecast.

ACME Mapper or iTouch Map Find your latitude and longitude 

Latitude and Longitude Finder

Current Moon Phase
Country Weather Forecast
City, State, Zip Code, or Country:

Sun and Moon rise and set data for
U.S. Cities or Towns




The place name you enter above must be a city or town in the U.S. The place's location will be retrieved from a file with over 22,000 places listed. Either upper- or lower-case letters or a combination can be used. Spell out place name prefixes, as in "East Orange", "Fort Lauderdale", "Mount Vernon", etc. The only exception is "St.", which is entered as an abbreviation with a period, as in "St. Louis". You need only enter as many characters as will unambiguously identify the place.

Time Zone Finder
(Also area codes, latitude/longitude, sunrise, other info)
City, Country, or Continent

Calendar Maker

Calendar Type:

Online Almanac Search

Type in "Astronomical" for instance.  See what you get!

Online almanacs. Get colleges by location info.