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To me, nothing comes close to the fascinating beauty and wonder of space. Technology and the Web makes it possible for any amateur stargazer or space enthusiast to explore beyond the night sky from the comfort of your own computer.

Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope (WWT) computer program is just one example of how the science of astronomy and the online universe can come together to create amazing tools and resources. Enabling students, teachers, and just about anyone to “reach for the sky,” it’s research and exploration without ever leaving home.

Here’s the best websites for space and astronomy. “To infinity and beyond!”

NASA

NASA’s website is the granddaddy of them all. You could literally spend hours browsing the site and still not even scratch the surface. It’s chock-full with all the latest official news, information on its missions, multimedia, and much more.

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The website’s news section covers all the latest happenings at NASA, frequently updated with exclusive images and videos. There’s also various news topics to check out, like Moon & Mars and Aeronautics. NASA’s multimedia section is where the fun’s at, though.

Its image galleries are stunning, audio and video podcasts are available, and interactive features let you take control, like touring the International Space Station (ISS) or exploring the Apollo 11 landing site.

Dean recently wrote an excellent post all about cool NASA stuff Cool NASA Stuff: International Space Station Viewing, NASA TV, Videos and More Cool NASA Stuff: International Space Station Viewing, NASA TV, Videos and More Read More , including ISS viewing and NASA TV.

Google and Space

No doubt about it, Google loves space and astronomy. Utilizing its virtual globe program Google Earth, it goes beyond just roaming satellite images of the Earth’s surface.

Ever gaze up at the night sky and wonder just what you’re looking at? The Sky mode feature, available on Google Earth and online, allows you to view stars and other celestial bodies, with animations of planets in orbit, constellations, and galaxies included.

Google has Moon and Mars, too, both also featured as separate globes on Google Earth 5.

If you download Google Earth, maps will be of a higher resolution and simply look better, even including 3D renderings, something the browser version doesn’t have.

For more, read up on how to learn interesting geographical facts about Mars Learn Interesting Geographical Facts About Mars On Google Learn Interesting Geographical Facts About Mars On Google Read More with Google and check out these cool resources and plugins Google Earth: Cool Resources and Plugins Google Earth: Cool Resources and Plugins Read More .

Space.com

One of the best space and astronomy news websites, Space.com offers more than just current headlines. These guys know what they’re talking about, with great coverage and exclusive articles that are well written, in depth, and even syndicated to major media outlets.

The site’s SpaceViews page is a must-see. It’s packed with amazing image galleries, zoom views of cool photos, and free downloadable wallpapers for your desktop.

Be sure to also check out Space.com’s NightSky section for everything you need to know about amateur stargazing, its video page for tons of footage, and maybe even join its large community of fellow space enthusiasts.

SpaceDaily

For news about nothing but space, SpaceDaily is the online news resource for industry professionals and fans alike. The website plainly displays news content, frequently updated with the latest happenings.

The site also provides a variety of newsletters and feeds covering various topics like space tourism, space war, and nuclear power.

HubbleSite

Bringing the magnificent images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) back down to Earth, HubbleSite is the place for all things Hubble. Its NewsCenter will keep you updated on what’s going on, you can check out HST’s discoveries, or just learn more about the telescope itself.

Of course, Hubble’s captivating masterpieces are there for viewing and the site goes all-out with the images. Check out the telescope’s talents in the picture album, download wallpaper, watch videos in the movie theater, and take image tours. It’s all available in the gallery section.

What are some of your favorite websites for space and astronomy? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: collectSPACE

  1. gs
    January 25, 2010 at 11:42 am
  2. Francis Arouet
    October 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    See heavens-above.com/ for satellite observing information. This will get you outside and observing!

  3. AndyK
    October 16, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Anyone who wants to learn astronomy, needs to see the sky. And to see the sky, there is no better software than Stellarium. I know it's not a website, but it's clearly superior than GoogleSpace as far as getting to know the sky above you. Too many times have I opened this software, and walked into my yard to look at the night sky!

    stellarium.org

    I am very very very disappointed by this article. For any budding astronomer, who wants to actually view the sky, all the above sites is like presenting a huge encyclopedia of knowledge infront of them. This will most like turn them off and result in them completely giving up astronomy.

    • John McClain
      October 17, 2009 at 2:20 am

      Hey, AndyK. As you said, Stellarium is not a website, so that's why I didn't include the program in the list. Same goes for WWT.

      In my opinion, all these websites have great information and features. If someone is actually turned off by it all, maybe astronomy isn't for him.

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