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Welcome to the "Cool Links" section of astrophotographs.com!

Surprisingly, this is a rather difficult section of any web site to develop. I don't necessarily believe in commercial links, but some are included here because these company's products were used to create the photographs you've been viewing, I've mentioned these products in the narratives or the company offers clearly the finest products of their type available. Further, the astronomy sites on the web are among the most extensive and fascinating, making a finite list really impossible to produce. With these parameters in mind, here are some cool links to explore.

SpaceWeather.com -- is a wonderful general astronomy site, with loads of current photographs and daily-updated info. I've been using this site recently to check out the up-to-the-minute information of the 2001 Leonids and Auroral activity triggered by solar flares. I would recommend this site be visited every day if you are an enthusiast.

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." Check out also the fabulous archives, spanning several years.

Sky and Telescope Online -- Sky and Telescope Magazine's official web site. Both this site and Astronomy magazine's site below should be bookmarked, as they include current events, star charts and many observing tips.

Astronomy Online -- Astronomy Magazine's official web site. I recently attended the June 21, 2001 Zimbabwe Total Solar Eclipse with Astronomy Magazine's tour. The whole deal, set up by A1Speciality Tours of Florida, was superb. More later, including many photographs (some even of the eclipse!) and additional narratives.

NASA home page -- NASA's official web site, with extensive links. Many feel this is the outstanding web site of the entire Internet. I agree!

Hubble Space Telescope Images -- A subset of NASA's site, I wept when I first viewed the content of this site. The Hubble Space Telescope is simply the apex of human technological achievement, and its photographs are the most significant ever taken. If you visit no other link, go to Hubble now!

Astronomical Museum at Mount Wilson -- is a great site honoring Mt. Wilson Observatory, which once housed the premier astronomical instrument in the world. Light pollution (see my rave in the narratives) had rendered it optically unusable, but no more. It has been given a new lease on life, and this site gives you the rundown. Use your search engine to find the web sites of other famous observatories; some even allow software hookup with their on-site CCD imaging cameras. Really, you can sit back, have a cup of coffee, open the dome and take astrophotographs from the computer you are now using. Unbelievable!

International Dark Sky Association -- is a nonprofit membership based web site dedicated to education concerning possibly the largest single issue now threatening Earth-based astronomical activities. When was the last time you saw the great star cloud in Sagittarius? Imagine a world without dark skies. Light pollution is a real issue, and as such requires all of us to be educated and committed.

Jan Curtis' outstanding Northern Lights photos and some excellent links and resources can be found at this content-laden Alaska educational site.

SETI@home -- is a site dedicated to (of course) the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Recently I read an article suggesting that we actually may be alone. From childhood (ever since looking skyward, as many of you probably can also relate) I have been sure that there are others out there. It would be profoundly and spiritually shattering to me if the above mentioned article was really true. Now we can all participate in this search (and prove the article wrong!); when (not if) such extraterrestrial intelligence is "discovered" our collective arrogance and loneliness will be forever dashed. It will be the most important day in the history of humanity. I'm very proud of the award and comments as pictured below:

"Dear Willis Greiner,

Congratulations on recently completing your 100th SETI@home workunit. Through your support, SETI@home has grown to become the largest distributed computation on Earth. We at SETI@home greatly appreciate the 1.25 years of computer time you have donated to the project, and hope that you will continue your support."

National Optical Astronomical Observatory's -- site is the web address of the United States' National Observatory complex atop Kitt Peak, Arizona. From here you can explore their extensive array of professional opportunities, take a virtual tour of some of the facilities and learn more about (and perhaps reserve observing time!) with the Advanced Observing Program we were fortunate enough to participate in (as described in the "Digital CCD" gallery of this web site.) You can even peruse their posting of the images we obtained during our visit in November of 1999.

Software Bisque -- is the developer of the finest software used to access remote telescopes. They also produce more "pedestrian" planetarium programs, also the finest made. This is a homegrown Colorado firm, located in Golden.

Santa Barbara Instrument Group -- produces excellent CCD imaging cameras. They are the industry standard.

Losmandy Astronomical Products -- produces very well-machined German equatorial mounts and other fine accessories for the astronomical community. Scott Losmandy is absolutely accessible, helpful and backs his products 110 percent. My 11-inch permanently-mounted Celestron is beautifully carried by this mount.

Celestron International -- manufactures telescopes and accessories as well. Their initial research and invention of mass-producible Schmidt-Cassegrain optical configurations paved the way for the astrophotography applications of today. I believe their optics are the best of this configuration available. (I use one of their first "Celestron-Pacific" 8-inch telescopes as well as a larger, more automated 11-inch model.)

Sienna Software's "Starry Night Deluxe" -- is simply the best of the general purpose planetarium programs. It is my desktop (armchair) favorite.

Richard Berry's Books and Cookbook CCD Camera Home Page -- are web locations featuring the works of Richard Berry, one of the pioneers of the CCD imaging revolution. His concern is education and a fascination with "building your own" CCD imager. The "Choosing and Using" book is possibly the best resource on the basics of CCD imaging. If you have fully mastered the techniques discussed in this small and easy-to-read resource, you will produce some very fine CCD images.

The Near Live Comet Viewing Web Site -- includes extensive observations and a place to register your astronomy-related web site.

Willis Greiner Photography is my "general-purpose"photographic web site featuring a mixed bag of images. It includes astronomical images, of course, but also nature and black and white hand-painted themes. I'm especially proud of the Zimbabwe narratives, accessed through the "new" African Galleries link.

Other links are noted as a part of my continuing "Under the Night Sky" newsletter. Good luck! I know that this list is so incomplete, it's laughable. However, it should get you going, so start your search engines. Also, most of these sites have excellent linking resources as well. Explore them. If you discover a great site, e-mail me with the link and I'll add it to this list, when appropriate.


revised 03/15/03

 

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