The Albuquerque Astronomical Society
Observe - Educate - Have Fun
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For more information, contact us at
taas@taas.org

Or by mail at:
TAAS
P.O. Box 50581
Albuquerque, NM
87181-0581

"Observe - Educate - Have Fun"

Local Astronomical Resources

New Mexico is a great place for astronomy and TAAS isn't your only resource. Here in Albuquerque and around the state there are plenty of resources for amateur astronomers. Here are a few.

TimmyTelescope

http://www.timmytelescope.com/

Astonomy isn't just after dark. Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Outreach gives you a chance to view our nearest star, the sun. With special filtered telescopes you can observe the sun safely without hurting your eyes.There's more to the sun than just a yellow ball. See for yourself what the sun's surface and atmosphere look like--93 million miles away.


New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org

With a state-of-the-art planetarium and an observatory all under one roof...well, really it's two domes, this is a must see place. The museum also has several space-related exhibits. While you're there, don't forget the dinosaurs.


Rio Rancho Astronomical Society (RRAS)

http://www.rrastro.org

In addition to monthly events, the RRAS makes periodic trips to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, El Morro National Monument, sun gazes at local businesses, and stargazes at local schools. Past stargazes have been held at Coronado & Ft. Sumner State Monuments. RRAS also made a field trip to the National Radio Observatory west of Socorro, and participated in the White Sands Star Party and Project Astro with the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo.


World Wide Web Astronomical Resources

There's lots of astronomy stuff on the internet: science projects, star charts, educational aids, etc. Every now and then, we find a real gem, something worth sharing. That's what this section is all about. Check out some of these sites. They are worth visiting.

Clear Sky Clock
Space Weather
Sky Charts
Virtual Moon Atlas
SETI at Home
David Levy Internet Radio
NASA Human Space Flight
Sky Maps
Heavens Above
StarDate

International Dark-Sky Association

http://darksky.org/

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is the recognized authority on light pollution and is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide.


ClearDarkSky

http://www.cleardarksky.com/

They describe themselves as "perhaps the most accurate and the most usable forecasters of astronomical observing conditions for over 950 observatories and observing sites in North America" The site also includes a reporting section to correlate forecasts. Definitely a site worth exploring.

Forecasts for cloud cover, transparency, seeing and darkness available for hundreds of sites, including 16 in New Mexico

SpaceWeather.com

http://www.spaceweather.com

A few years ago, there was an incredible aurora over Albuquerque, that I missed because I didn't know about a coronal mass ejection that was coming our way. Since then, I keep informed with SpaceWeather.com. The site specializes in solar, meteor, and comet events, as well as notable occultation's and astronomical news. It's a no-nonsense site, without ads or pop-ups.

One of the bet parts of the site, is their e-mail newswire, that sends out no-spam notices of coming or in-progress astronomical events.

Sky Charts

http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/index.html

As an avid user of Bisque's The Sky astronomy software, I became spoiled with the instant ability to call up a sky chart, for any date, and zoom-in for details. When my old PC crashed hard, and I couldn't find the disks to reload The Sky into my present PC, I was a little lost. I started looking around for a lower cost alternative and found mostly garbage... Until I found Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts)

Cartes du Ciel is absolutely packed with features, and uses 16 different star catalogs including New Hipparcos, Bright Star Catalog, SKY2000 Master Star Catalog Version 2, Tycho Catalog, The HST Guide Star Catalog, NGC 2000.0, and many more. In addition the position of planets, asteroids and comets are shown, with easy online updates for new objects.

The English interface is very similar to The Sky, and the graphics are, in my opinion, much better than The Sky.

Cartes du Ciel is a free program written by French astronomer Patrick Chevalley. At 15 megs, it's a fairly large program for dialup users to download, but a CD-Rom option is available.

Virtual Moon Atlas

http://www.astrosurf.com/avl/UK_index.html

Another great freeware tool, Virtual moon atlas offers detailed 3D mapping of the lunar surface, and identifies features by simply clicking on them.

The program uses images from the United States Geological Survey which were modified by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory into high quality Moon surface textures.

4.4 Megs. Requires Win 95 or greater.

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SETI at Home

http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

How many times has amateur astronomy been associated with UFOs? How many times have you been asked if you've seen UFO's? When it happens to me, I try to calmly explain, that astronomers usually don't believe in UFO's, but many do support the scientific search for Extraterrestrial intelligence.(SETI)

SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence . You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.

SETI@home normally runs as a screen saver, although it can also be configured to run continuously in the background, using whatever free resources your computer might have at the time.

SETI@home downloads as a 792k program

SETI@Home Program Window
For Windows systems you'll need a computer with at least 32 MB of RAM, the ability to display 8-bit graphics in 800x600 resolution, 10 MB of disk space, and an Internet connection (dialup is OK). For Macintosh systems you'll need the above, as well as a PowerPC processor and Mac OS 7.5.5 or later. You can use SETI@home on a laptop that is connected sporadically. Support is available for many versions of UNIX, including Linux on various CPUs. We hope to eventually support other systems such as OS/2 and BeOS. The software does not support WebTV. There are no CPU speed or modem speed requirements.

David Levy on Internet Radio

http://www.letstalkstars.com/

Lets Talk Stars, is a weekly live astronomy radio program broadcast on KTKT AM in Tucson AZ. Topics include interviews with noted astronomers, observing tips, and timely astronomical subjects. Requires download of free RealPlayer. .

NASA Human Space Flight

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/

From updates on the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, to info on the International Space Station, to Live NASA TV, NASA's Human Spaceflight page is the best place for up to date info on what we're doing up there.

Sky Maps

http://skymaps.com/downloads.html

What's in the sky this month? Download a free printable map with charts and plain English explanations of what's in the sky tonight, from Skymaps.com .

Heavens Above LogoHeavens Above

http://www.heavens-above.com/

What's passing overhead tonight? What to show the kids and neighbors the ISS? Impress your girlfriend with an accurate prediction of an Iridium Flare. (Geek!)
Heavens Above has it all. Great to check before a star party of campout. Star and moon charts also available.

ISS Position

StarDate

http://www.stardate.org

Stardate is the longest-running radio science feature in the country, airs on KUNM, 89.9 FM, nightly @ 7pm (weekends @ 6pm). It began as "Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?", a brief astronomy update that aired on a single Austin radio station in 1977.