Amateur Observing

The night sky can be a truly fascinating place - if you know where and when to look. These links point to pages containing practical and explanatory information about the sky at night, plus a selection of interesting phenomena: eclipses, aurorae, comets and meteors.

General Observing

* Public observing sessions at ROE
The ROE visitor centre runs public observing sessions on friday nights, with alternative activities and talks if the weather is bad.
* Sky and Telescope Howtos
Don't know where to start? There's plenty of practical help on these page from Sky and Telescope magazine.

'What's Up' in the Night Sky

* Your Sky
An interactive planetarium on the web. See what stars and planets are visible from any place at any time with 'Sky Map', or track a specific object with the 'Virtual Telescope'.
* The Constellations and their Stars
Information about each of the 88 constellations. Find out their position in the sky, and what stars and objects of interest can be found within them.
* The Night Sky this Month
Article describing things to look out for this month.
* Sky and Telescope "This Week's Sky at a Glance"
What stars, planets, comets, satellites, asteroids etc. are currently visible in the night sky, from Sky and Telescope magazine.
* The Seds Messier Database
Keen 18th century comet-hunter Charles Messier listed galaxies and star clusters which were easily confused with comets. On these pages you will find images of some of the most beautiful objects in the sky, with charts and descriptions to enable you to observe them for yourself.
* Our Solar System and Space Exploration page
links to pages with detailed information about the individual members of the solar system.


* NASA Eclipse Web Site by Fred Espenak
Arguably the best eclipse site on the planet. Predictions, maps, photos, data, and great explanations of eclipse phenomena can all be found on this excellent page.


* AuroraWatch UK
Comprehensive UK page including AuroraWatch Alerts, providing you with aurora forecasts direct to your email or mobile phone.
* Aurora Forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute.
Regular forecasts of auroral activity over Alaska and the northern hemisphere. Photographs, FAQs, and good starting point for auroral information.
* The Aurora Page from Michigan Technological University
Information, links and images about the Northern Lights.


* International Comet Quaterly Comet Information Website
A key place to begin looking for useful and accurate information regarding news, observations, orbital data, designations and names, and good links regarding comets and related topics.

Meteors and Meteor Showers

* American Meteor Society
A wealth of information on observing meteor showers.
* The Fireball Observing Page
We often receive reports of sightings of particularly bright meteors - fireballs. Observers at the Society for Popular Astronomy are keen to hear from you if you've spotted such a meteor; this page gives details of how best to record your sighting.
* International Meteor Organisation
A slightly more technical page for enthusiasts and those interested in making a more scientific record of their observations.
* Forthcoming meteor events page of The Astronomer online magazine.
A comprehensive guide to seeing the major annual showers.


* Heavens Above
A user-friendly satellite tracking page, with some very handy star charts. You can select your observing location from a google map, and then obtain predictions for satellite passes as well as charts for many astronomical objects and the whole sky.


* Atmospheric Phenomena
Seen something strange? A large number of "UFO" sightings can be explained as unusual cloud formations and other odd atmospheric effects. This page from the German Halo Research Group has some spectacular (and very eerie) pictures.
* The Met. Office Home Page
Useful when you want to know about observing conditions, or just interested in the weather.
* Met. Office cloud prediction
Useful for predicting whether clear skies are likely within the UK.
* Clear Sky Charts (for Canada and the USA)
A great service for predicting observing conditions, unfortunately only covering North and Central America.

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