Tools for observers
2020 charts for planets, dwarf planets, asteroids
- Mercury finder chart: Note that Mercury moves quickly and shuttles from one side of the Sun to the other quickly.
- Venus finder chart:
Venus is visible as a bright evening or morning star.
- Mars finder chart to Dec. 2021: Mars has a spectacular appearance in fall skies this year becoming magnitude -2.6 at opposition in October! It will also be large enough at its closest point (22.6” across) for surface details to be seen easily (as long as there is no planet-wide dust storm like last opposition). Opposition is Oct. 13, 2020 but it is great viewing for a month or two before and after.
- MARS MAP ALPO: Mars Map for identifying surface features (useful for the opposition in October 2020).
- Ceres chart to Jan. 2021: The entire track of Ceres for 2019 from in-the-sky.org.
- Jupiter chart for 2020: Note Jupiter spends its time in Sagittarius under the Teaspoon for all of 2020. Opposition is on July 14. A viewing guide from Brian Ventrudo Cosmic Pursuits is coming soon.
- Saturn chart for Jan. 2020 to Jan. 2021: Saturn is also mostly in Sagittarius just beside Jupiter. This is a nice pair of gas giants to view easily, both prime targets for summer and fall viewing. Saturn opposition on July 22 is only a week after Jupiter. Saturn 2020 viewing guide coming soon.
- Uranus finder chart: The planet is still in Aries and will be for awhile.
- Neptune finder chart: Neptune is in Aquarius. Nearby is Ceres, and Mars pays a visit in June.
- Dwarf planet Pluto finder chart: Pluto is in Sagittarius from Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2021. Mars passes less than 1 minute of arc from Pluto on March 23!
- 2020 meteor shower calendar from IMO.org is available here.
Note: If you want to create your own up-to-date charts, a good site with interactive charts is found at in-the-sky.org
Messier marathon items
- Starry Night planetarium software: The official Simulation Curriculum website which includes both Starry Night and SkySafari
- Other planetarium software: A collection of good star-charting software by Sky and Telescope (many are free)
- Stellarium planetarium software: Stellarium planetarium program for Mac, Windows, Linux
- SkyPortal app by Celestron: For Android and iOS. Similar to SkySafari. It includes audio files for many objects and, best of all, it's free.
- iTelescope: A not-for-profit, iTelescope.net is the world's premier network of Internet connected telescopes, allowing members to take astronomical images of the night sky. There are 20 publicly accessible telescopes across four observatories in both hemispheres.
Star maps (downloadable)
Eclipse observing (solar and lunar)
- Mr. Eclipse: Fred Espenak's page for solar and lunar eclipses
- Rainbow Symphony: A source for safe solar eclipse viewing glasses
- Keppel Henge (located at Keppelcroft Gardens, Big Bay): Steve Irvine's information page about this particularly robust solar observatory
- Heavens Above: Spaceflight, satellite visibility, comets, astronomy information
- ISS transit finder: Find interesting passes of the space station across the moon or sun
Auroras, weather and rainbows
- Bright comets: The best site for up to date comet viewing information by Seichi Yosida
- Cloudy Nights: Forum for discussion of astronomy, reviews of equipment, other topics
NASA and space programs
Dark sky preserves (DSPs) and Bruce Peninsula environment groups
Projects and telescope building
Stores and used astronomical equipment online
- Astro Buy and Sell: Canadian buy and sell website for used astronomy equipment
- KW Telescope: New and used telescope equipment sellers for southern Ontario - great staff, our favourite astronomy store