Wonderful websites

Here are some things to do from home if you have been inspired by your visit to the planetarium cinema and want to find out more.

Look at the night sky

Our view of space changes all the time as the Earth rotates on its axis and orbits the Sun. You will also see different things depending on where you are on the Earth.

Download our Beginners Stargazing Guide to help you get started.

For more detail, try using Heavens-Above. This excellent website lets you put in your location and the date, and then tells you how to spot star-patterns, satellites and all sorts of things. You can print out star-maps to help you find your way around the sky.

You can see so much (coloured stars, planets, nebulae, satellites, meteors, galaxies and more) just with your eyes, but if you can get hold of binoculars or a telescope then you will be amazed by how much more can be seen. Here's some advice from the University of Manchester for anybody thinking of buying binoculars or a telescope.

There is a weekly guide to the sky on Sky and Telescope magazine’s website and an excellent (better for beginners?) monthly guide from Jodrell Bank.

Try to spot the International Space Station or other manned missions. NASA tells you where to look.

Remember to check the weather and wrap up warm!


Read the latest space news

Today’s space news from Universe Today.

A great Space Blog from the Planetary Society (for older readers).

Or catch up with what NASA are doing on their YouTube videos.


Join a club / go to an event

There are lots of clubs and societies in the region. Note however that most astronomy societies have a lower age limit for members.

There are also many local astronomical societies around the UK who do lots of different things. To find one wherever you live, look at HantsAstro's AstroSouth directory for societies in the south of England or on the Federation of Astronomical Societies website for national coverage.

In Hampshire, you could find:

- Andover Astronomical Society
- Basingstoke Astronomical Society
- Cody Astronomical Society (Farnborough)
- Hampshire Astronomical Group (Clanfield)
- HantsAstro (Hampshire)
- Solent Astronomical Society (Southampton)
- Southampton Astronomical Society
- Farnham Astronomical Society
- Romsey Astronomical Society

Other societies in the region:
- Vectis Astronomical Society (Isle of Wight)
- Reading Astronomical Society
- Newbury Astronomical Society
- Guildford Astronomical Society

Then there is the lovely South Downs Planetarium in Chichester, who run their own programme of events.

Finally, check out the Society for Popular Astronomy, http://www.popastro.com/, who have just started a kids' section. They have plenty of information about how to get involved with astronomy.


Be part of a research project

YOU can contribute to important scientific investigations. There are lots of images of space that need to be analysed, but sometimes computers cannot work as well as a human brain. You can volunteer to help by looking at images online in your own time, maybe even getting your name on a research paper. Here are three projects you could be part of:

Galaxy Zoo (Oxford University) – identify different kinds of galaxy.

Solar Stormwatch (Royal Observatory Greenwich) – spot solar storms. As well as learning new things about our Sun, this project helps warn astronauts if there is dangerous space-weather coming their way.

Or look out your window for this one: Moonwatch (HM Nautical Almanac Office) - spot the new crescent moon.


Consider a career in astronomy

Find out what life is like as an astronomer by catching up with their cosmic diaries on this well-designed website.


Find out more about space

The European Space Agency (ESA) has a kids page.

NASA also has loads of stuff for kids on its website.

Explore NASA's living encyclopedia of robotic exploration of our solar system. 

The BBC has a whole space section.

And our friends at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, have some great online factfiles (aimed at ages 16+).

Have you ever made a scale model of the Solar System? Calculate the sizes for your model here, or use this online tool to visualise the solar system at various scales. Discover Your Age On Other Worlds and Your Weight On Other Worlds to add to your findings.

Discover fascinating Astronomy photographs with Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. Visit the NSSDCA Photo Gallery for popular NASA images of the Planets.

Planetarium software for your computer (all free)
Remember - never install software onto any computer without the permission of the owner!

Stellarium - a view from Earth, great for finding out what you can see tonight.

Celestia - lets you fly through space.

World Wide Telescope from Microsoft lets you explore the night sky and zoom in to find interesting objects, with links to pictures and information.

Eyes on the Solar System - NASA's fantastic new tool allows you to keep track on all its current missions and explore our solar system and beyond...


Other fun stuff

Solar system visualiser - watch planets and moons orbiting in our solar system and also around other stars! See the shapes of the orbits and how fast the objects move as they go around. Very simple to use.

Solar system collisions calculator – design an impact and this will calculate what damage you have done!

Great little interactives – find out about loads of different space topics by playing with these neat gizmos. Mostly for KS3+.

Beautiful Hubble pictures – from the Hubble Space Telescope. Just amazing.

Other events:

There are lots of events websites where you can find out about things that are happening near you. Among other places, you can find Winchester Science Centre events on:

Day out with the Kids website

Or search for other planetariums on the British Association of Planetaria website.


If you know any other websites that you think should be on this list, let us know! Also it is inevitable that some of these links will get out of date. Please let us know if you spot any so the Science Centre can avoid other people being disappointed.