Space Exploration & Astronomy Links

Asteroid Watch
Breaking news, videos and more on all the asteroids, meteors, comets and other near earth objects discovered, tracked and analyzed by JPL spacecraft.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer

Aurora Galleries have collected every aurora photo they have ever published into one “mega-gallery.” There are spooky auroras, man-made auroras, auroras in Florida, auroras at the South Pole, auroras beneath the space shuttle–thousands of photos. Together, they are a unique chronicle of space weather since the year 2000. Browse the collection!

Basics of Space Flight
A textbook approach to how space vehicles actually work.

Beginning with an overview of the solar system, with planetary statistics and distances, the course proceeds through celestial mapping and timekeeping to the physics involved in space travel. This is all presented in short, easily digested segments and test questions. If working onscreen is too irksome (not to mention costly) you can download a Postscript or Adobe Acrobat file containing the entire workbook.

Cassini Solstice Mission
Cassini completed its initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn System in June 2008 and the first extended mission, called the Cassini Equinox Mission in September 2010. Now, the healthy spacecraft is seeking to make exciting new discoveries in a second extended mission called the Cassini Solstice Mission.

The mission’s extension, which goes through September 2017, is named for the Saturnian summer solstice occurring in May 2017. The northern summer solstice marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. Since Cassini arrived at Saturn just after the planet’s northern winter solstice, the extension will allow for the first study of a complete seasonal period.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory: Exploring The Invisible Universe
The Chandra X-ray Observatory is part of NASA’s fleet of “Great Observatories” along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the now deorbited Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Chandra allows scientists from around the world to obtain X-ray images of exotic environments to help understand the structure and evolution of the universe.

Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page (JPL)
On July 23, 1995, an unusually bright comet outside of Jupiter’s orbit (7.15 AU!) was discovered independently by Alan Hale, New Mexico and Thomas Bopp, Arizona. The new comet, designated C/1995 O1, is the farthest comet ever discovered by amateurs and appeared 1000 times brighter than Comet Halley did at the same distance. Normally, comets are inert when they are beyond the orbit of Jupiter, so it has been speculated that Comet Hale-Bopp is either a rather large comet or experienced a bright outburst (or both). The comet is the brightest comet since Comet West in 1976. From Hubble Space Telescope images, the comet’s diameter has been determined to be about 40 km. The Pic du Midi Observatory has ascertained from their observations that the comet’s rotation rate is 11.4 hours.

With over 5,100 images, this site has the largest collection of Comet Hale-Bopp images in the world available on the Internet.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy Home Page (JPL)
This site contains photographs, computer simulations and animations of the effect of the collision between comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and the planet Jupiter. There are links to other Shoemaker-Levy sites and general comet sites.

Deep Impact Legacy Site
Deep Impact was the first mission to make a spectacular, football-stadium-sized crater, seven to 15 stories deep, into the speeding comet Tempel 1. Dramatic images from both the flyby spacecraft and the impactor were sent back to distant Earth as data in near-realtime.

European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organization composed of 14 Member States which aims to “provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and operational space applications systems.”

At this site you will find an overview of ESA’s role in the space programme, information on the various sites and personnel, and details of all ESA flights. You can download a 5.5mb set of slides, together with a viewer, for later perusal.

The Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) is an orbiting space telescope observing galaxies in ultraviolet light across 10 billion years of cosmic history. A Pegasus rocket launched GALEX into orbit at 8 a.m. EDT on April 28th, 2003. Although originally planned as a 29-month mission, the NASA Senior Review Panel in 2006 recommended that the mission lifetime be extended.

GALEX’s observations are telling scientists how galaxies, the basic structures of our Universe, evolve and change. Additionally, GALEX observations are investigating the causes of star formation during a period when most of the stars and elements we see today had their origins.

Galileo Legacy Site
Galileo plunged into Jupiter’s crushing atmosphere on Sept. 21, 2003. The spacecraft was deliberately destroyed to protect one of its own discoveries – a possible ocean beneath the icy crust of the moon Europa.

Galileo changed the way we look at our solar system. The spacecraft was the first to fly past an asteroid and the first to discover a moon of an asteroid. It provided the only direct observations of a comet colliding with a planet.

Galileo was the first to measure Jupiter’s atmosphere with a descent probe and the first to conduct long-term observations of the Jovian system from orbit. It found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Europa, Ganymede and Callisto and revealed the intensity of volcanic activity on Io.

Visit the site to learn more about the historic legacy of the Galileo mission.

The Giant Magellan Telescope
The Giant Magellan Telescope can open a window to fundamental discoveries about the birth of stars and planetary systems, the mysteries of black holes and the genesis of galaxies.

Technology has driven many of the ground-breaking discoveries in Astronomy and this motivates our desire to create the most powerful scientific instruments possible. The GMT will be built from 7 mirrors, each 8.4 meters in diameter.

Heavens Above
If you’re interested in satellites or astronomy, this is the right place! The aim is to provide you with all the information you need to observe;

Mir and the International Space Station
The Space Shuttle

The dazzlingly bright flares from Iridium satellites as well as a wealth of other spaceflight and astronomical information. Many people don’t even realize that satellites can easily be seen with the naked eye. They not only provide the times of visibility, but also detailed star charts showing the satellite’s track through the heavens. All the pages, including the graphics, are generated in real-time and customized for your location and time zone.

The Hubble Space Telescope

Out of the ordinary…out of this world.
Chances are you haven’t seen what NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope sees. Hubble sees the raw beauty of the universe from above Earth’s atmosphere and sends back a portrait of the universe in exquisite detail. Here’s your chance to leave the ground for a while… and see what Hubble sees.

James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) is a large, infrared-optimized space telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System. Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

JPL Space Gallery
Here you’ll find stunning images taken by spacecraft as they study Earth and other planets, moons, small bodies like comets, and distant stars and galaxies.

Kennedy Space Center

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon

Mars Exploration
Nasa’s portal for links to Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Exploration Rover Mission
NASA’s twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars.

The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet.

Mars Express
Mars Express is so called because it was built more quickly than any other comparable planetary mission.

The Mars Express Orbiter will:
Image the entire surface at high resolution (10 m/pixel) and selected areas at super resolution (2 m/pixel)
Produce a map of the mineral composition of the surface at 100 m resolution
Map the composition of the atmosphere and determine its global circulation
Determine the structure of the sub-surface to a depth of a few kilometres
Determine the effect of the atmosphere on the surface
Determine the interaction of the atmosphere with the solar wind

Mars Odyssey
2001 Mars Odyssey is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. The opportunity to go to Mars comes around every 26 months, when the alignment of Earth and Mars in their orbits around the sun allows spacecraft to travel between the two planets with the least amount of energy. 2001 Mars Odyssey launched on April 7, 2001, and arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001, 0230 Universal Time (October 23, 7:30 pm PDT/ 10:30 EDT). Odyssey’s primary science mission took place February 2002 through August 2004, and the orbiter began its extended missions on August 24, 2004.

Check out the latest news on the NASA Today page, use the NASA Centers page to find out about individual NASA space centres, visit the Gallery for thousands of high-quality space related images, video and sound clips. The sheer volume of information presented here makes it a must-visit site.

NASA Astrobiology Institute
How does life begin and evolve? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? NAI carries out collaborative research and education in astrobiology, the interdisciplinary science that seeks answers to these fundamental questions. It supports investigation of these issues on Earth and serves as a portal to space for the scientific community.

NASA Human Spaceflight

NASA – JPL Solar System Simulator

NASA Science
The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nation’s science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. SMD also seeks to understand:

The nature of life in the universe and what kinds of life may exist beyond Earth;
The solar system, both scientifically and in preparation for human exploration; and
The Sun and Earth, changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.

NASA TV provides real-time coverage of Agency activities as well as resource video to the news media, and educational programming to teachers, students and the general public.

Near Earth Object Program
The intent of this web page is to bring together relevant information on all aspects of Near-Earth Object studies and, in particular, to explain why these objects are so important to life on Earth. These objects have struck the Earth in the past and they will do so in the future. It has only been relatively recently that the role of NEOs on the formation of the early Earth and Earth’s life forms has been realized. Small Near-Earth Objects collide with the Earth on a daily basis. Fortunately, as the size of a NEO increases, there are fewer of them so that a collision with a truly large NEO is a very unlikely event….

The New Millennium Program
The Flights of the New Millennium Program are as varied as the technologies they carry onboard and the science information they are designed to gather. They include the Deep Space 1, 2 & 3 missions plus Earth Orbiter 1 & 2 missions.

New Scientist Space

NSSDC Photo Gallery
A large collection of planetary and astronomical objects including asteroids, comets, galaxies, globular clusters, nebulae, stars and exotic objects.

Planetary Photojournal: NASA’s Image Access Home Page
This service, developed as a collaboration between NASA’s Planetary Data System Imaging Node, the Solar System Visualization Project, and JPL’s Public Information Office, is designed to provide you with easy access to the publicly released images from various Solar System exploration programmes.

The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman to encourage the exploration of our solar system and the search for extraterrestrial life.

The Project Apollo Archive
The Project Apollo Archive serves as an online reference source and repository of digital images pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing program.

Space science news from NASA

Simple Satellite Tracker’s simple Satellite Tracker has gone global. The tool now works not only for US and Canadian readers, but also for sky watchers in countries around the world.

Sky & Telescope – Internet Resources
Astronomical Web Sites, Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

SOHO: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
SOHO, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, is a project of international collaboration between ESA and NASA to study the Sun from its deep core to the outer corona and the solar wind.

Solar System Exploration
The Solar System Exploration website is a one-stop shop for planetary information published by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Space Calendar (JPL)
Regularly updated, this site has only one function – to itemise dates and times of all events connected with space. You will find planned launches, astronomical discoveries and events, eclipses, etc. In addition, there is a vast amount of information on recent celestial events and an ‘on this day’ feature.

Spaceguard UK
Spaceguard UK is the national focus in the UK for studies into the threat posed to the Earth by collisions with asteroids and comets, and has recently established the privately funded Spaceguard Centre at the former Powys Observatory.

SpaceWander Virtual Space Trip!
Take a virtual space-trip to the depths of the Universe! All of SpaceWander’s space pictures are real NASA images! Our award-winning multimedia space tour takes about 12 minutes. You can sit back and enjoy it or you can press buttons on the spaceship to see additional in-context information. Play, stop, rewind, and fast-forward buttons are provided so you can fly at your own pace.
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.

Spitzer Space Telescope
The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched into space by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 25 August 2003. During its 2.5-year mission, 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). Most of this infrared radiation is blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere and cannot be observed from the ground.

The Two Micron All Sky Survey at IPAC
Infrared all-sky survey done at a wavelength of two microns. With an atlas of about 5 million pictures from the grand finale of this milestone in modern astronomy, the site is worth visiting even if it is only to ‘ooooh and aaaah.’

The Universe Today: Space Exploration News from Around the Internet
The Universe Today covers recent events in space exploration, policy, science, and politics. The top space news from around the Internet is gathered and presented in an easy-to-read, daily updated newsletter.

USGS Astrogeology Research Program
The mission of the USGS Astrogeology Research Program is to establish and maintain geoscientific and technical expertise in planetary science and remote sensing to perform the following tasks:

scientifically study and map extraterrestrial bodies,
plan and conduct planetary exploration missions, and
explore and develop new technologies in data processing and analysis, archiving, and distribution.