This week, astronomers will be up in the early morning hours to see Perseids, a meteor shower that has historically proven to put on quite a show. This happens every August when Earth passes through debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet.
If you're an amateur astronomer or someone looking to get started with the hobby, you might be surprised to know that there are online tools to help you tonight, when you want to see Perseids, and every other night you go in the back yard and set up your telescope.
Go star gazing
Astronomy Network is a social network for astronomers. It sounds like a neat idea, but after you sign up, you quickly realize that the site has such a small community, it's tough to find value in it.
That said, Astronomy Network's forums are a great place to hang out and communicate with some of the members. If you end up making friends with some users, you can instant message each other, send direct messages, upload videos, and add images to the site. It's a full-featured social network designed specifically for amateur astronomers, but until more people join, it won't live up to its potential. CalSky
CalSky is an invaluable astronomy tool. The site provides you with a search that you can modify to find exactly what you're looking for tonight. Do you want to see the International Space Station? Are you looking for meteor streams? The site will help you find it all.
When you get to the site, it determines your location. From there, it will find all the objects you search for in the night sky on a specific day (you can search for any day of the year). The site explains each cosmic event and where to find it in the sky. When you click on one of those events, it delivers a page that provides even more information. If you're serious about astronomy, this is the site for you.… Read more