Go Out:  Look Up!

A Guide to the Sky, Telescopes, and Telescope Programs

Home Observing The Sky Equipment Program Info Schools How-to Links

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Jessica's Jackpot
Jeff's Info


What’s Cool Tonight?

Whole sky map of tonight’s sky with interesting targets at SkyMaps.com (scroll down to the Current Month to download a map)

Astronomy for Kids

Sky & Telescope’s This Week’s Sky at a Glance (overview of highlights)

Astronomy Magazine’s The Sky this Month and The Sky this Week

Tonight’s Sky (useful and thorough, but text-based.  Requires some knowledge)

Heaven’s Above: good information, include a whole sky chart for tonight

Space Station Sighting Times: pick your city and it tells you when the next visible overflights are and where to look (click here for San Diego)

Spaceweather.com: up-to-date info on transient information like sunspots (do NOT look at the sun), asteroids and aurora.

What's the weather going to be like?

Here are observing forecasts for the San Diego region:

General Astronomy

Sky and Telescope.com

Astronomy.com; Some great links:

·         The Sky this Month

·         The Sky this Week

·         Intro to the Sky

·         observing under our bright Urban Skies;

·         Astronomy for Kids,

Orion Telescope’s Astronomy Learning Center

Solar Observing, Live Hydrogen-alpha shots of the Sun:  http://halpha.nso.edu/

Jessica's Jackpot - a wealth of cool links

Free Planetarium Software:

Stellarium Free Planetarium Software

There are some very cool apps for iphone, also.

Local Observing and Resources

Woodland Hills Cameras and Telescope's Daniel Mounsey: reviews and Oak Canyon Astronomy Group.

San Diego Astronomy Association

SDAA hosts public star parties every month.  Members bring telescope equipment for the public to look through.  Just show up.

SDAA Calendar. **NOTE: All public viewing sessions are weather dependant and can be cancelled without notice.

“Stars at Mission Trails”

The SDAA holds a monthly Star Party at Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) on the second Friday of every month at the Kumeyaay Lake Campground on the Santee side of MTRP. We set up at dusk in the day-use parking lot, which is just to the right after you enter the campground. Directions to MTRP may be found on the MTRP website.

Tierra Del Sol – SDAA’s “Dark Site”

Regular public observing sessions--"star parties"--are held at our ten-acre site in the east county, and the Club's 22-inch telescope, along with other club telescopes, are available for everyone to use. Members experienced in their use and in the night sky host the club telescopes, and the hosts are always willing to take on the throngs of curious public, school groups, and other civic organizations that visit our site. **NOTE: All public viewing sessions are weather dependant and can be cancelled without notice. See the forecast for the event here.

For more info and directions visit, http://www.sdaa .org/tds.htm

“Stars in the Park” in Balboa Park – near the Ruben H. Fleet Space Theatre

At dusk on the first Wednesday of each month, following the monthly "Sky Tonight" planetarium show in the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater, members of the SDAA set up telescopes west of the Fleet on The Prado, for free public sky viewing

Astronomy in Oceanside:  Mira Costa College has an astronomy program with public observing sessions.


Library Telescope Program

New Hampshire Astronomical Society Library Telescope Program


Scope buying guide (Orion's, Meade's, independent expert Ed Ting's recommendations).  My two cents: I agree with Ed: a six to eight-inch dobsonian is a great first scope.  If you're in an urban or bright suburban area, the Orion dobsonians can be bought with a Computer Object Locator which is easy to use and allows you to find targets that would be very difficult without a computer.

Orion Starblast 6i

How-to Guides

How to use Orion's Computer Object Locator (video)

How to Read a Star Chart or Planisphere

Astronomy Sky Chart

AstroDevices' Nexus:  it allows you to hook up your computerized telescope (or any scope with encoders) to your iPad or iPhone (or android).  It has revolutionized how I observe!


Astronomy Watch! 

Darkness is the biggest factor in being able to see dim objects. The sun and the moon are the biggest factors in darkness. 

The Yes Watch company has a series of beautiful watches with a really great interface.  Even with the "digital readout" turned off, you can immediately see when sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset occur, as well as a detailed moon phase (44-hr increments!).

I just bought one of these and I LOVE it!


Jeff Martin's contact information


Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin