Amateur Astronomy Resources

Amateur astronomy is one of those hobbies in which I participated avidly for about five years while in the U.S. Air Force and for a couple years after separating. During that time I observed as often as time and atmospheric conditions permitted. While at Robins AFB, in Warner Robins, Georgia, I belonged to the Macon Amateur Astronomy club and spent quite a few Friday evenings operating the museum's/club's 8", 10" and 14" Celestron telescopes both for private observation and for assisting the public after the planetarium show. The club took a couple trips to the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta and got to look through their 32" reflector, which at the time (circa 1980) was the largest reflecting telescope in the southeast. 

Today, of course, private 30" Dobsonians are as affordable as motorcycles. A picture of me and my 8" Newtonian reflector is given below. I ended up selling it after getting married to help pay the mortgage (sold all the R/C stuff, too). Only naked-eye (no longer anywhere near my former 20/15 vision) and my trusty binoculars remain for observing over the past 20 years. Recently, have I begun reacquiring some of my "toys" from yesteryear. I have not purchased another telescope yet, but the good thing is that now the state of the art is orders of magnitude better than where I left off.

Amateur Astronomy Manufacturers & Services

Kirt Blattenberger with my 8" Newtonian reflectorHere I am (Kirt Blattenberger, webmaster) with my 8" Newtonian reflector, circa 1982. It was purchased used from an astronomy shop in Baltimore, MD. After struggling with dragging out the tripod and doing polar alignments night after night, I finally got smart and built this concrete block pier and ran 120 VAC to it for the clock drive. Observation nights were greatly increased in number after doing so. The finder is a piggybacked 2" refractor. I made a remote focusing mount for the eyepiece using a servo from one of my other hobbies - R/C aircraft. Soon, I will scan and post some of the photos I took with it using my Minolta SLR. There were no digital cameras in those days.

ADC for Amateur Astronomers | | Greenbelt, MD
Specializes in archiving and distributing collections of data that have been published by professional astronomers. Most of these data sets are in the form of computer-readable tables of numbers, rather than images. Amateur astronomers can find these data collections useful in looking up the properties and locations of celestial objects. This can help amateurs plan for observing sessions, and help them to better understand what they've observed.

Amateur Astronomers Association of New York | | New York, NY
Provides lectures, classes and observing sessions to better enjoy astronomy, whether intellectually, aesthetically, or both.

Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton | | Princeton, NJ
Promotes astronomy-related activities for members and non-members, novice to expert. A wide spectrum of astronomy interests are explored at the AAAP through regular meetings, workshops, use of the two club observatories, public outreach and regional star parties.

Amateur Astronomers' Inc (AAI) | | 908-276-2730 | Cranford, NJ
Club info & links.

Amateur Astronomer's Notebook |
Joint effort by two amateur astronomers, Joe Roberts and Peter Chapin, includes information on a variety of topics that may be of interest to both casual star watchers as well as experienced amateurs.

Amateur Astronomical Observatories |
Large list of links to observatories & observatory vendors.

Amateur Astronomy Observers Log |
This site lets amateur astronomers share their observations with each other.

Amateur Astronomy & Space Website | | UK
Amateur astronomer's website.

Amateur CCD Astronomy |
This webpage is devoted to showing examples of astrophotography that this author, an amateur astrophotographer, has taken with the CCD - Richard Jacobs, M.D.

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers | | Dallas, TX
Bringing Amateur Astronomy to the World.

Ames Area Amateur Astronomers | | Ames, IA
Club information & links.

Astronomes Amateurs du Luxembourg | | Luxembourg
Club information & links.

Astronomy Boy | | New Hampshire
Resources & tutorials for amateur astronomers.

Astronomy Cafe |
Astronomy articles, links, & information, by Dr. Sten Odenwald.

Astronomy Software |
Links to planetarium and sky simulation software.

Backyard Astronomy for Amateur Astronomers | | The Netherlands
Introduction to astronomy.

Cedar Amateur Astronomers, Inc | | Cedar Rapids, IA
Promotes the study and interest in astronomical topics within the membership and among the public via dissemination of knowledge and ideas through lectures, meetings, presentations, displays, discussions, and outdoor activities, are a member society of the Astronomical League & operates Palisades-Dows Observatory in cooperation with the Linn County Conservation Department.

Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club | | Charlotte, NC
Club news & astronomy information.

Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers | | Philadelphia, PA
Club info & links.

Edward R. Zane Planetarium | | Greensboro, NC
87-seat hall in Natural Science Center of Greensboro.

Estimating Limiting Magnitude |
An easy method of determining how clear your sky is by Veikko Makela.

Extreme Stargazing |
Article by David H. Freedman.

Hamilton Amateur Astronomers | | Canada
A group of individuals dedicated to the enjoyment and advancement of astronomy.

Ford Amateur Astronomy Club | | Dearborn, MI
Club info & links.

FotoSearch Astronomy Image Library | | Waukesha, WI
A massive collection of astronomy images from, galaxies to planets to NASA images and much more. View world-class photography and art free of charge. It is the digital, online equivalent of a massive image library. Browsing through the library is free, and there are no access charges, registration requirements, or usage limits.

Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association | | 616-897-7065 | Lowell, MI
Participates in public education activities, comet watches, meteor observing, as well as opening the observatory to the public two nights per month. Besides the public education programs, members involve themselves in many other pursuits from observing programs to astrophotography and CCD imaging.

The Isle of Man Astronomical Society |
Isle of Man
Promotes amateur astronomy.

Kennedy Space Center Amateur Astronomers | | Florida
Dedicated to the Understanding and Knowledge of the Heavens God Made for Us to Observe.

Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society | | 610-797-3476 | Allentown PA
The LVAAS is a public-oriented nonprofit educational organization dedicated to serving the interests of the community in astronomy and related fields. For both professionals and amateurs alike, LVAAS has much to offer through our many programs and observing facilities.

Messier Objects |
Images from the Digitized Sky Survey as posted on by Richard Bright.

Mount Wilson Tower Cam | | Mt. Wilson, CA
From the Mount Wilson Observatory, Department of Physics & Astronomy, UCLA.

NASA's World Wind Satellite Imagery |
World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.
Virtually visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara.

The Nine Planets |
A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System: describes the history, mythology and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons and other objects in our solar system. In addition to the usual pictures, there are also sounds, an occasional movie and many links to other net resources. The text is written for a general audience not necessarily knowledgeable in astronomy; technical terms are linked to an extensive glossary by Bill Arnett.

NGC Images Archive |
From the Grove Creek Observatory.

North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club | | Massachusetts
Two of the principal goals of the NSAAC are to promote a wider appreciation of astronomy and to help people choose the most appropriate telescope or binocular for their interest and budget. |
Various astronomy links.

Piedmont Amateur Astronomers | | Statesville, NC
A group of individuals who meet to share an interest in astronomy and to promote astronomy education.

Prairie Astronomy Club | | Lincoln, NE
Dedicated to encouraging the study of Astronomy and related subjects for the benefit of its members and the general public.

Ptolemy's Cafe |
Bill Arnett's backyard observatory.

Ptolemy's Supper Club |
A group of avid amateur astronomers.

Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association | | Holland, MI
A not-for-profit organization created for the purpose of furthering the enjoyment of amateur astronomy.

Singularity Scientific |
Personal site by Rick Boozer, whose intent is to promote interest in astronomy, space, and science education in general.

South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association | | Sunrise, FL
A registered non-profit educational amateur astronomy society.

Spitzer Space Telescope | | 818-354-4200 | Pasadena, CA
The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched into space by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral on 25 August 2003. Spitzer will obtain images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy, or heat, radiated by objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and 180 microns (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter). Consisting of a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, Spitzer is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space.

Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA) |
A leading centre for astrophysical research in Australia, at The University of Sydney.

Transit of Venus |
A brief report on our viewing of the 2004 transit of Venus from Bill Arnett.

Tri-Valley Stargazers |
Tri-Valley Stargazers (TVS) is a registered non-profit astronomy club serving the areas in and around Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, Fremont, and Tracy, California.
Public outreach and astronomy education are promoted collectively by the club and individually by members who present public programs and monthly meetings. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy. Amateurs and professionals are equally welcome.

Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association | | Tucson, AZ
A resource for anyone interested in Astronomy. Our mission is to nurture a person's natural curiosity about the night sky. By giving people a knowledge and understanding of Astronomy, we enhance their enjoyment of the solar system beyond. Through our public activities and school evening observing sessions, we bring Astronomy to persons of all ages. Our regular meetings and observing sessions offer members a forum to meet others with similar interests and experiences and to learn from one another.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers | | 309-438-2496 | Normal, IL
Club info & links.

Umbraphilia |
A full report on a trip to the 1998 solar eclipse in the Caribbean.

The Web Nebulae |
Pictures and a bit of explanation of a couple dozen of the more spectacular nebulae in the night sky.

Westchester Amateur Astronomers | | Valhalla, NY
A not-for-profit organization open to people of all ages with the desire to learn more about astronomy and who share an interest in viewing the universe. We range from enthusiastic amateurs and educators to casual stargazers and families.

Wollongong Amateur Astronomy Club | | Australia
Club info & links.

World's Largest Optical Telescopes |
Lists all the major optical observatories in the world today.