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Portal to the Universe ~ Cornerstone of the International Year of Astronomy (2009), Portal To The Universe aims to be a one-stop-shop for the latest astronomy information. Featuring news, video, images, blogs and audio this site serves as an index and aggregator using collaborative tools, enabling comments on existing posts or adding your own feed.
Project Apollo Archive ~ Around 13,000 images, covering the manned Apollo space missions that eventually led to six lunar landings, have been released from NASA’s archives in their original and unedited form. Budget cuts are blamed for these being published on Flickr, just as many might share their holiday snaps, although it does lend a gritty authenticity to proceedings.
Provisional Designation ~ You may wonder how the asteroid (469219) 2016 HO3 was named. In time, it’ll have a proper title, but for now the number in brackets shows this is the 469,219th. minor planet to be discovered. “2016” is the year, “H” was the half-month and “O3” means the fourteenth body during that period, in the third journey through the alphabet, without the letter “I”.
Quasi-satellites ~ In the broadest sense, a moon is an astronomical body orbiting a planet. Although our Moon is the Earth’s only known natural satellite, there are a number of near-Earth objects (NEOs) with a solar orbit resonant to our own. Asteroid 3753 Cruithne is the most well-known, but tiny (469219) 2016 HO3 spotted during April 2016, looks the best example yet.
RASNZ ~ The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) has several worthwhile features on its website. At 11.5% larger than the UK but with just 7% of the population, I guess it is remarkable that my site gets so many hits from their part of the world. Out of an arguable 193 countries existing today, NZ comes in a regular twelfth depending on how you count my traffic.
Roche Limit ~ After last week’s public service announcement on the Hill sphere, here is notice of its celestial precursor, called the Roche limit. Where the former defines the outer extreme at which any celestial body can orbit another, the latter dictates how distant matter must be to form in to a moon. Astronomer Édouard Roche, calculated this theoretical boundary in 1848.
Rosetta ~ The Rosetta mission is the European Space Agency’s attempt to land on a comet. Named after the Rosetta Stone, they hope just as this helped decode a lost civilization, so Philae their lander will gather data that unlocks the mysteries of the universe. Launched in 2004, touchdown on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is now scheduled for November 12, 2014…
ScienceDaily: Space & Time ~ ScienceDaily is one of the Internet’s most popular science news websites and since 1995, has built to more than three million visitors every month. This is the Space & Time feed, where you can keep up with the latest events and comment around the cosmos, but there are other sections too, on a range of science topics.
SDSS / SkyServer ~ SkyServer brings the database of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its mission to build a high-quality, three-dimensional map of the universe, directly onto your desktop. This site offers a number of helpful tools for teachers, students and for anybody else who wants to discover more. Their scrolling sky tool is a neat touch…
Sedna ( 2003 VB12 ) ~ As our telescopes and research facilities improve, increasing numbers of celestial bodies are now being located in the outer reaches of the solar system. As of March 2004, the largest of these is called Sedna. A complete astronomical introduction to this latest discovery can be found here…
SEDS Messier Database ~ Between 1758-1782 Charles Messier selected a group of diffuse objects that were difficult to distinguish from comets through the telescopes of the day. Luckily, his Messier Catalogue is known today for another reason, as a collection of the most beautiful features from the night sky including nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.
See the Northern Lights ~ My partner caught the Northern Lights from southern England. Yet, despite a lifetime spent on the cusp between late and early; I have never witnessed this phenomenon. When travelling I usually head south, away from our weather. I’m someone with no need for a bucket list: if things were different I would certainly be taking, the author’s advice on board.
Shadow & Substance ~ This website reminds me of how the Internet used to be, before it turned into a huge shop, or Facebook and Twitter extended their malevolent influence. Back then, you’d write a little code and learn the basics. The author of this page has animated some of the more notable celestial events ahead, simply because it is what he was eager and keen to do.
Sirius ~ Planets get the most notice. However, many stars are significant as well, not only because they go to comprise the zodiac signs. Sirius for instance, the alpha constituent of Canis Major, appears brighter than Saturn and far outshines the stellar competition. This brilliance comes down to a combination of its proximity to Earth and luminosity. Plus, it has a great backstory…
Sky & Telescope ~ Sky & Telescope is a monthly magazine for the amateur astronomer. It features detailed discussions of current discoveries, amateur and professional photography, plus tables and charts of upcoming celestial events. Much of this is freely available from their website, so it is hard to imagine why I have not recommended that before.
Skymania ~ British astronomy site in blog format, presenting the latest celestial happenings and news from space in a way that almost everyone can understand and get enthusiastic over. In particular check out their guide to Mars, for the latest on the NASA Phoenix mission to the red planet, now extended through September 2008.
Skywise Unlimited ~ Another site becoming twilighted in the march towards the model of the Internet as a store front, that is wholly accessible on your underpowered mobile device. There is much to recommend about this offering, especially the section on North American Indian full moons, looking at twenty-nine different tribes from the peaceful Hopi, through the feared Comanche.
Solar & Heliospheric Observatory ~ SOHO, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, is a joint venture involving both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It’s all a bit low-key compared with what we’re used to, but there is plenty of interesting material and some great imagery, you’ll discover by following lots of links.