May 16, 1999
Welcome back. Today’s topic is Backyard Astronomy. Did you know that
each week you can find even MORE
recommended Web sites on the weekly topic? Just click on
over to my online
archive. You’ll find the additional sites listed
under Honorable Mention.
For those interested in creating Web pages,
and have asked what tools I use and recommend, I’ve created
two new pages: Tools I
Use and From my Bookshelf.
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by:
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- ACE Computer Camp: Time is
running out! Make your
plans now for a summer you won’t forget. ACE summer computer camp for kids
ages 7-16 gets FIVE STARS
from Surfing the Net with Kids. Camps are located at over 80 leading
colleges and universities nationwide, such as Stanford, MIT and UCLA (as
Campers learn a variety of skills, from programming in BASIC, C, C++, and
HTML to software applications and Web page design. Additionally campers
sports in the afternoon and computer game tournaments in the evenings.
offers both commuter and overnight programs. Visit
ACE Computer Camp online or call
1(800)FUN-4-ACE, and be sure to tell them "Barbara sent me!"
International Astronomy Day is observed each year on a Saturday near the
first quarter moon between mid-April and mid-May. This year it falls on
May 22. Interested in astronomy? Stargazing in your backyard is a simple
first step. Experts advise us to learn the sky with the naked eye before
investing in a pair of binoculars (and don’t even think about a telescope
yet!) More great advice can be found online in these marvelous sites.
Like "Surfing the Net with Kids?"
Recommend-It to a Friend!
“Leave it to adults to take something as exciting and beautiful as the sky
and make it boring! We are going to have a GREAT time exploring the
universe we live in. . . . Adults are welcome to join us as long as they
behave.” Best clicks are Puzzles (for three astronomy-themed word
searches) and Sky Maps (for timely advice on what to look for in the sky
tonight.) I also liked Planets, where you’ll find oodles of good stuff for
Tip number three: “Don’t rush to buy a telescope . . . Thinking otherwise
is the most common beginner’s mistake. Half the people who call for help
ask, â€˜How do I see anything with this %@&*# telescope?’ They assumed that
making a big purchase was the essential first step.” Having made this
exact mistake, I’d put this tip in the number one spot! To get the most
out of your backyard stargazing, start by reading these helpful tips from
Sky and Telescope magazine.
Ever wish you had an experienced astronomer standing by your side to guide
you to tonight’s sky? Meet Deborah Byrd â€” author of this monthly
Skywatching column (my don’t-miss-it pick of the week.) “Each day’s segment
is designed to guide your eye to something you can see that night, or the
next morning before dawn. It might be a constellation, a star, or a planet.
Or it might be a celestial event, such as an eclipse. Or, just for fun, on
some days Deborah might take you (in your imagination) on a trip to another
planet, to give you the view from there.”
The Hubble Space Telescope has been our photographer-in-the-sky since 1990.
Circling the Earth every ninety-seven minutes, orbiting 370 miles above
our atmosphere, the Hubble sees “ten times more clearly into the cosmos
than typical Earth-based equipment; it can see objects one-billionth as
bright as the human eye can see.” National Geographic’s Star Journey is a
three- pronged look at the stars: the Hubble Space Telescope, Star
Attractions (the constellations), and Star Chart (sky maps superimposed
with images from Hubble.)
“Actually you can see lots of things by just using your eyes. You just
have to know where to look and when.” Although this page seems to go on
forever, and blue on black is a tad difficult to read, there is lots here
worth perusing. Scroll down the page to find great info on the phases of
the moon, and when the next major meteor shower will occur. Other valuable
clicks are Star Light Star Bright, Fun Facts, and Take the Challenge!