Astronomy Software
by Brittney Abril.
December 2008

This section is about several sites that either are or advertise the different types of computer astronomy software available. Some sites are free astronomy software that you can use any time. Others are about software that you can purchase and use at home on your computer.

1) Google Sky; http://www.google.com/sky/; by Google
December 2, 2008

Google sky is a new astronomy software program that displays a picture of the nights sky. It can show you anything you would like to see in the night sky. Along the bottom of the site it has several different categories that you can click on and see what exactly you are look for. It can show you the solar system, constellations, Hubble showcase, backyard astronomy, Chandra x-ray showcase, Galex Ultraviolet Showcase, Spitzer infrared Showcase, and Earth and Sky Podcasts. As you go to each of these categories not only does it show you where it is, they give you a brief history on the different subjects in each category. It even has zoom capabilities. Although you can't zoom too far in. To understand this page you have to have a little bit of knowledge about the stars and our universe, but not much. This site is really great for high school or college students who are currently in Astronomy or just anyone who enjoys astronomy or looking up at the night sky. Honestly, this site has a lot of useful information that would be helpful for anyone doing an astronomy project.

2) Stellarium; http://stellarium.org/ ; by Source Forge
December 2, 2008

Stellarium is a software that gives you a look at what the stars look like with the naked eye, a telescope, or binoculars. It has many more features than the google sky, but this is a little more animated rather than realistic. This site introduces the stellarium software because it's not the actual software, but it does have links to where you can automatically download the software to your computer. This is great for junior high, high school and college students. As far as I can tell it's a pretty educational website and is even being updated as we speak.

3) Deep Sky; http://www.deepsky2000.net/ ; by Deep Sky
December 2, 2008

Deep sky not only has information on their available software, but videos that teach you how you can find stars and objects in the night sky using a telescope. Along with all of this, they even have many reviews from people who have used these before. It has everything you need for observing the sky. Although to actually use any of it you have to order and pay for it. This software would appeal the most to astronomers, teachers and possibly college students. This program holds a lot of information so younger kids may not understand it so well.

4) Plaetarium software; http://www.nineplanets.org/astrosoftware.html ; by Bill Arnett
Decemeber 2, 2008

Planetarium software is just a long list of all different kinds of software. Although all it tells you is the title, the price, what kind of software, whether or not it's a demo, and who published it. There are no pictures or any further description. I don't like this site because the page is bland and boring and it gives you no insight as to whether any of the software is good or not. For the prices they are asking I would hope that they were great programs. This site looks like it's intended for someone who knows their astronomy software very well. You would need alot of astronomy knowledge in order to look at this page for software because otherwise you may just think it's nothing that pertains to you.

5) Astronomy Software Servers; http://www.cv.nrao.edu/fits/www/yp_software.html ; by Astro Web
December 2, 2008
Astronomy Software Servers is a boring black and white page with no pictures or color at all. Although, they do give you a brief discription of many, many different types of software, but not too much detail. This site would be best for any astronomer or astronomy teacher because they may be the only people who could understand the brief descriptions of the software.

6) Celestia; http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ ; by Celestia Development team
December 8, 2008

Celestia is a 3D simulation of our nights sky. They have 3 different download versions that you can choose from depending on what works for your computer. It even has a forum where you can clerify any confusion you may have about the software. You may need a little astronomy background in order to understand it and be able to use it although i think any high school or college could easily figure it out. Also, I think this site appeals to any astronomy teacher or astronomer themselves.