AD ASTRA...  page 4

(last update 25. Jun 2000, see immediately below)

Remote Internet Telescope (90 cm aperture)
This unusual facility runs a robotic telescope, which can be triggered by Internet users all over the world for free. Despite certain limitations, partly due to simple technical/physical ones and partly due to the currently available equipment (hard- and software), this is a big chance for all seriously interested amateur observers. Who of us can use a 90 cm reflector telescope? In the near future some limitations are to be overcome, for the institution of the Case Western Reserve University plans to improve the telescope site in Nassau, Ohio. But you have to be warned respective observation weather conditions: Ohio is no way comparable to Arizona (as a good example), because of it's far more cloudy and rainy conditions and also because of it's considerable more northern latitude you can neither expect so many clear nights nor long nights at summer or visibility of relatively southern located sky objects. For now, use the request form and comply to the given restrictions, than you will get an automatic observation at the coordinates you choose, but you have to be precise! Typical for this telescope type and size the usable angle for observations is not large; this means you have to choose not especially big objects in terms of angular size. There are galleries of already performed automatic CCD images; if your proposal is accepted, you will get yours online, but in raw data, so you have to do your own image processing. But today many amateurs already have an own CCD camera equipment and also the software, to get the best out of such raw observational data. The first step is the free registration with real and email address - no secure transmission, therefore medium good passwords seem appropriate. Stay tuned or try it immediately yourself. The application form is well equipped with entry sensitive helps however.

Current remark: Now it has happened! On 9. Jun 2000 I got my proposal done by the facility, and next day the acknowledge email. After logging in with my user id and password (you can get both back by email, because a long time can elapse as in this case) I was able to download the image and the necessary "dark" image for image processing (you have always to subtract the "dark" one from the "real" one due to CCD properties) as unfiltered, color integral FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) images. Because there are so many experienced amateur astronomers world wide, who own CCD cameras by themselves, I made this result also public (star cluster M24 in the public download area, observation proposal 393), so these experts can try to get the most out of it. With the UNIX/LINUX viewer xv you can view also these FITS image files, under LINUX you should provide a gamma parameter of at least 3 up to 10, to see anything, under Solaris somewhat lower values will be appropriate --- astronomical images are always relatively faint! I have to admit, that I have not yet performed the image processing, because I'm only a beginner with the not so easy to use software, but I will do it again of course!


Astro-Info LogoSwiss Astro Info Organization
This is a very well done utility for the daily observer of stars, planets and so on. It offers pictures and animations of the actual appearance of astronomical objects like the moon and the major planets but also of minor bodies and pending astronomical events as the total solar eclipse on 11. August 1999 in Central Europe and the Near East. The only not so good news are, that any visitor of this site should understand not only English, but also German and eventually even French to be able to read all informations... But for more visual usage it should be able for everybody to use it with success. The Java parts are as ever not guaranteed to work with all operating systems and browsers...

German flag Dies ist ein sehr gutes Hilfsangebot für tägliche Himmelsbeobachtungen aller möglichen Objekte. Es werden Bilder und Animationen aktuell dargestellter Himmelkörper zur Verfügung gestellt, und das nicht nur vom Mond und den hellen Planeten, sondern auch von kleineren Himmelskörpern sowie bevorstehenden astronomischen Ereignissen wie der totalen Sonnenfinsternis am 11. August 1999 in Mitteleuropa und dem nahen Osten. Der einzige Wehrmutstropfen ist, daß man am Besten dreisprachig sein sollte, um alle Informationen lesen zu können: Englisch, Deutsch und womöglich auch Französisch zu beherrschen, ist hier eine große Hilfe. Aber für die hauptsächliche Nutzung als visuelles Hilfsmittel sollte diese Site allen ohne weiteres zugänglich sein. Die Java-Teile arbeiten wie üblich nicht zwingend mit allen Betriebssystemen und Web-Browsern zusammen...

Actual Images from our Sun
For the daily sun observer this can deliver not only informations about the actual status in visible light, when the sky is clouded or there was no time to observe (especially in winter times for working people a common problem) the sun, but there are also pictures in special wavelengths like H-alpha and even relatively compact (MPEG) animations of the suns spots and rotation (about 600 kBytes in size).

Space Images and Informations  New URL
This is a fine, comprehensive site, using very seldom frames and with graphical and textual representations of its contents. Available are images, animations (MPEGs with size informations and short captions) and also exact informations by many numbers collected mainly by the missions of JPL and ESA about the Solar System. There is also a well ordered (reverse date) section of new additions to the homepage.

Nine Planets Overview    Neun Planeten - Übersicht
Another nicely done site, presenting informations also for people, who are not inside the astronomy. It presents also the mythological resp. poetical background of our solar systems celestial bodies and there are several mirror sites available, often even translated in the regional language.

German flag Eine andere gut gestaltete Homepage, die auch für Nicht-Insider der Astronomie Informationen anbietet. U.a. werden die mythologischen bzw. poetischen Hintergründen der Namen der solaren Himmelskörper genannt und es gibt mehrere Spiegel zu dieser Seite, die oft (s.o., dt. Fassung!) sogar in die Sprache der Region übersetzt sind.


Schwäbische SternwarteSchwäbische Sternwarte eV
Despite it contains a short English version, this is mainly a German written (of course also Germany-based) homepage. Therefore I describe it mainly in German. Frames are used anyway.

German flag Obwohl ich Mitglied des Vereins bin, ist dies nicht der Grund, weshalb ich diese Seite ebenfalls präsentiere. Es gibt hier ebenfalls aktuelle Beobachtungshinweise (die Texte fast ausschließlich in Deutsch) und insbesondere einen sehr umfangreichen Teil über die totale Sonnenfinsternis am 11. August 1999. Natürlich gibt es einige Mitglieder, die schon anderen totalen Sonnenfinsternissen in ferne Länder hinterhergereist sind, aber obwohl die bevorstehende einzige Finsternis dieser Art in Deutschland in diesem Jahrhundert selbst auf der Zentrallinie nur zwei Minuten dauert, fiebern alle dem Ereignis entgegen. Für den Großraum Stuttgart/Mittlerer Neckar kann man diese Volkssternwarte als federführend bezeichnen; es ist daher für alle in dieser Gegend sinnvoll, sich hier genauer zu informieren... Aber es werden auch Informationen für die gesamte Totalitätszone bis in den nahen Osten geboten und natürlich auch andere Beobachtungstips sowie auf Veranstaltungen in Stuttgart hingewiesen. Auch diese Seite benutzt Frames.


Lynette Cook Space ArtLynette Cook Space Art
Similar to Extrasolar Visions (page 2) artwork about astronomical objects is presented at this nice looking site. There are three categories: extrasolar planets, SETI/radio telescopes and more artistic than scientific space art. The extrasolar planets are again fantasy, but with science as guide kept in mind. There are also some links to other homepages, including greeting card offers etc. 


IAU Minor Planet Center
The primary source for minor planets in our Solar System alongside with informations about comets and Near Earth Objects (NEOs), which may threaten our planet respective us or the biosphere on it. For the devoted amateur with its large, actual database about provisional and final numbers names, orbit elements and ephemeris dates the only necessary source at least in technical respect.


AURA Observatory Collaboration
This is a common effort of many of the major observatories all over the world, to integrate informations about these observing sites. There are classical astrophysical observatories also as solar observatories in the member list, which has recently got a new member with the giant double telescope Gemini (two >8m mirrors). A good starting point for informations about current projects. The site uses frames.


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