Recommended web sites and answers to frequently asked questions



About the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium

The star projector
All about that big machine in the center of the Star Theater

The East Avenue sculpture
History and information about Francesco Somaini's sculpture in the circle in front of the Planetarium

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Worth Checking Frequently
"Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment." Check here for information about sunspots, auroras (northern lights), eclipses, meteor showers, and other things in the sky that come and go.

Daily updates on research throughout NASA in many areas, including life sciences and space commercialization. This might be the place to discover a great topic for a school paper or report.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
This wonderful site gives you a beautiful new picture each day, with a short but informative caption and links to plenty of reliable background information. Use their "search" feature to get information and pictures on just about any space topic.

Spaceflight Now
An excellent source for up-to-the-minute status reports on current and upcoming space missions

Astronomy Now
This magazine from the United Kingdom gathers reports of astronomical discoveries from around the world.

Bad Astronomy
If you don't mind the confrontational tone, you'll enjoy accurate information on common "weird" topics such as egg balancing, Planet X, theories of the Apollo moon landings, and planet line-ups.

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Space Flight

NASA home page
The home page of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the gateway to millions of pages with everything from planet pictures to the NASA budget.

NASA missions to Mars
This site, maintained by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, serves as a jumping-off point to information about U.S. space missions to Mars (past, present and future) and to Mars facts and maps.

European Space Agency
ESA manages many important space missions including the Mars Express/Beagle 2 mission, a major part of the Hubble Space Telescope research program, and the Huygens probe to Saturn's moon Titan.

Japan's mission to Mars. The spacecraft, also known as Planet-B, was launched in 1998 and scheduled to reach Mars in 1999. After recovering from rocket engine problems early in its flight, Nozomi is reaching Mars in 2004. Most of the site is in Japanese, but you'll find basic information and pictures of the spacecraft.

Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan
Home page for the joint NASA/European Space Agency mission to Saturn and its moon Titan.

Hubble Space Telescope
Get pictures and information from the most famous telescope operating today!

Chandra X-Ray Observatory
X-rays come from bizarre cosmic objects such as active galaxies and black holes, and Chandra is observing them. The Field Guide and Education links on this site are particularly good. To find out about Rochester's contribution to this observatory, see the Chandra page at Kodak  

Galileo Jupiter mission
Pictures and discoveries from the space probe that spent 8 years exploring Jupiter and its moons

NASA Human Space Flight
Information on the progress of the Shuttle program, letters from astronauts aboard the Space Station, pictures of present and past missions and astronaut assignments for future missions.

Columbia Accident Investigation Board
Official reports from the board investigating what happened to Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003. See also the "STS-107 Investigation Reference" link on the NASA Human Space Flight page listed above.

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Sky Watching

Rochester's Leading Astronomy Club
The Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science is a friendly group whose volunteers operate the Planetarium telescope. They welcome beginners at public star parties and other events through the year.
If you hear about a meteor, a sunspot, a solar storm, an eclipse, or any other short-lived celestial phenomenon, check here for information and pictures.

Espenak's Eclipse Page
When is the next eclipse and where will I have to go to see it? Check here for the answer. NASA expert Dr. Fred Espenak maintains detailed information on solar and lunar eclipses, past, present and future.

Sunrise, sunset, seasons, solstices, equinoxes, time, calendars, etc.
The U.S. Naval Observatory is the authoritative source for celestial calculations. Their Astronomical Applications Department makes all this information available to you, customized for your location and date.

How to See the International Space Station
When will the International Space Station or any other large satellite be visible in Rochester's sky? The German commercial site tells you when and where to look and can even create sky maps. Click here to go directly to a page customized for Rochester, NY.

Satellite Viewing for Any Location
This link takes you to the main page of the German commercial site You can type in a location and date and get a list of times and directions to look for the International Space Station and other satellites.

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Our Solar System

The Nine Planets
"An overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information." Especially good if you want to get to a specific fact quickly.

NASA Solar System Exploration Home Page
Different from The Nine Planets (listed above), emphasizing how we learn about our solar system using telescopes and space probes. This site also includes information pages on the planets, major moons, and small objects, in a different style from the Nine Planets site.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Pictures of the sun, taken from space, updated several times a day. Follow the progress of sunspots and solar storms as they happen!

Comet Observation Home Page
Dedicated amateur comet hunters send their pictures to this site. You'll see that most comets are small and faint.

NASA Near-Earth Object Program
Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazards Home Page
Check these two sites for reliable information on space objects that come near Earth.

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Other Solar Systems

Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia
California & Carnegie Planet Search
These sites document the search for planets orbiting stars other than our sun. Much of the information is meant for professional researchers, but you can find introductory information if you explore a bit.

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Dr. Jim Kaler’s Stars Page
If you're interested specifically in stars (as distinguished from galaxies, planets, meteors, etc.), this site, maintained by a leading expert on the subject, is loaded with useful information. Dr. Kaler spoke in the RMSC Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series in 1995.

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Big Bang, Cosmology, etc.

NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
By measuring the heat left over from the "Big Bang," the WMAP satellite is providing epoch-making information about the very early universe. From the home page, click on "Universe" to get "Cosmology 101," an excellent overview of the Big Bang picture and the evidence for it.

Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial
Maintained by a UCLA astronomer, this site uses science and math at about high-school level. The "News of the Universe" and "Frequently Asked Questions" sections are especially good.

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National Optical Astronomy Observatory
NOAO includes observatories at Kitt Peak, Arizona; Sacramento Peak, New Mexico; and Cerro Tololo, Chile. The image gallery pages are especially easy to use.

European Southern Observatory
Look here for stunningly beautiful photographs of the southern sky, taken by the giant telescopes at this observatory in Chile.

W. M. Keck Observatory, Hawaii
With main mirrors 10 meters across, the twin Keck telescopes hold the current record for largest in the world.

Pic du Midi and Haute-Provence Observatories, France
From remote locations in southern France, where the air is exceptionally clear and steady, these observatories capture planetary views rivaling those from the Hubble Space Telescope. Image captions are in French.

Anglo-Australian Observatory
If you're interested in film photography you'll want to look at the unique color images by Michael Malin.

U.S. Naval Observatory
Here's just about everything you'll ever want to know about time, seasons, dates of solstices and equinoxes, sunrise and sunset times, phases of the moon, and much more, from the authoritative source.

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Do you want to work for NASA? Check out the NASA Jobs page.

Do you want to be an astronomer? The American Astronomical Society is the leading organization of professional astronomers. The AAS site includes a jobs page that gives a glimpse of careers in astronomical research.

Do you want to work in a planetarium? The International Planetarium Society, a volunteer-run association, provides web links to planetariums around the world, and even has a jobs page.

Are you interested in museums and science centers? The Association of Science-Technology Centers web site has job listings plus inside information on how science centers are organized and operated.

Do you need official statistics on employment for your report? Go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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