Jay's home page
`I can more easily believe that two Yankee professors lie than
accept the notion stones can fall from heaven.' - Thomas Jefferson,
1808 (on the report of a meteorite)
`Note that the above numbers are valid for a 2 km asteroid made
out of wood.' - Daniel Silevitch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
on sci.astro (taken quite out of context)
I have a great fascination with astronomy, and consider myself
lucky to live in a time when my species is making so many amazing
astronomical discoveries. If I had my life to live over again,
I might well become an astronomer. (At the moment it's an unlikely
leap, since I have a particularly deficient background in math.)
Here are some of my favourite astronomy-related web sites:
- I visit
the Astronomy Picture of the Day almost every day (and check out their
archive for anything I've missed). Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell
do an excellent job of selecting (often topical, and usually beautiful)
astronomy pictures and writing up descriptions of them, replete
with links. You can learn a lot at this site, and by following
its links to others. Or you can just look at the pretty pictures.
The Hubble Heritage Project presents pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Extrasolar Visions is a site devoted to speculation about actual extrasolar planets.
A number of extrasolar planets have been discovered so far
(mostly by detecting the slight wobble they cause in the star
they orbit, but also by gravitational lensing, and one has been
confirmed by noticing the dip in brightness as it passes in front
of its star). The Extrasolar Visions site starts with the actual
data about these planets (mass and orbit of planet and type of
parent star) and adds a whole bunch of imagination to produce
pictures and descriptions of what those planets or their moons
might be like. A lot of it is (and has to be, at this point)
completely made up, but it's interesting nonetheless, and based
on kernels of fact. One nice feature at this site is a three-dimensional
starmap (in perspective drawing) showing the spacial relationships
of the stars with planets discovered around them to our sun.
Unfortunately, the site is very slow and requires Java and/or
- A more strictly factual site is the
Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia at the Observatoire de Paris (also available
in French). This page has news of recent detections and publications,
announcements of meetings and conferences, and the like.
Michael Matessa has
a page about extrasolar planets, and
a table of known exoplanets, which can be sorted by various parameters (mass, distance from
- Most of the planets have been detected by
Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler, who pioneered the technique, and they maintain
a web page for the SFSU planet-search project.
NASA's SkyView site lets you browse various digitized sky surveys (in various wavelengths)
Heavens-Above generates current sky maps showing the position of satellites
and planets (as well as stars), so you can figure out when you
can go outside, look up, and see the International Space Station
or an Iridium satellite passing overhead.
General astronomy education
More links to follow...
Jay's home page
last modified 2001.01.16