Amateur Astronomer Resources

Cygnus Spacecraft approaches space station in the sunset

The following is a non-comprehensive, curated list of online resources for the amateur astronomer.  We welcome suggestions for additions to this list.

News and general information

Ask an Astronomer
Ask an Astronomer. Ask a question or read information and previously submitted questions and answers about astronomy, our solar system, the universe, physics, famous people in astronomy. Questions are tagged by level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

The Awesome Amateur Astronomer
The awesome amateur astronomer - 10 steps to get you started in astronomy. Links, apps, podcasts and more. Earn “badges” for each of the 10 steps.

Las Cumbres Observatory
“For everyone” section of Las Cumbres Observatory website - news, events, educational resources, more

NASA for Students
News, videos, and educational resources as well as links to internships, programs and other opportunities. Links to resources by grade level (K-4, 5-8, 9-12, higher education).

NASA Social Media
Landing page for all of NASA’s social media accounts. Follow on one or more platforms to learn about happenings at NASA and space news.

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that empowers young people to participate and make an impact in space exploration.

Space Scoop
“Bringing news from across the universe to kids all around the world”
Weekly space-related news stories appropriate for anyone ages 8+

Citizen science, games, and other interactive resources

Agent Exoplanet
Agent Exoplanet. Astronomers at Las Cumbres Observatory are investigating exoplanets - planets which orbit stars other than our Sun - and you can too.

Asteroid Tracker
International campaign to observe Near Earth Asteroids with Las Cumbres Observatory. View timelapses created by over 500 citizen scientists and contribute your images.

Find that Planet!
Find that planet! An online activity for grades 4-12. Center for Science Education/Science Education Gateway, UC Berkeley

A citizen science project where you can classify galaxies based on images and guiding questions. Anyone can participate.

Messier Bingo
Download cards and play bingo with objects in the Messier catalog

Introduction to microlensing.  Diagrams, animations, exercises for beginning and advanced students.

NASA Kids’ Club
Play games and learn about NASA

Sky viewers and planetaria

Planetarium software that shows a 3D simulation of the night sky (requires installation)

WorldWide Telescope
American Astronomical Society’s WorldWide Telescope project. View the sky online or install the viewer for more options. Resources and information also available; in particular, see the Guided Tours and Introductory Astronomy Sections here:

Virtual Sky
VirtualSky is a browser-based planetarium from Las Cumbres Observatory that lets you see what is visible in the sky from any location on Earth. It can be customized and included on your own website, blog etc. It is provided freely for educational and non-profit use.

Celestial coordinate system

The celestial coordinate system: RA & Dec

4 general resources on celestial coordinates:
University of Michigan Astronomy Department, Coordinate Systems
Sky and Telescope, What are Celestial Coordinates?
Center for Science Education/Science Education Gateway, UC Berkeley
Astronomical Coordinate Systems
Hartmut Frommert’s astronomical resources on SEDS