Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hallo Northern Sky

Unfortunately the lunar eclipse was just slipping away when the Moon rose last night here in Conglomeration. But the good news is that while searching the Internet for information on when the moon would turn red, I stumbled upon a marvelous, utterly free astronomy program called Hallo Northern Sky.

The first thing I got it to do for me was to show where the edge of Earth's shadow was (it wasn't on the Moon anymore at that point). But that was just a start. This program shows me where everything is! I've spent several hours last night and today searching out galaxies, stars and planets, finding out what the sky looked like in 4 B.C, and zooming in on far away objects.

When you you zoom in far enough (which you do by just drawing a square around whatever you're interested in) you'll find a realtime photo of the planet or globular cluster. By realtime I mean it's oriented properly and Saturn's shadow on it's rings is correct. You can also check out the positions of planetary moons and see which asteroids will be zipping by Earth in the next few days. The only thing it doesn't do that I wish it did is tell me where the major satellites are -- the International Space Station, Hubble, etc.

Frankly, I was so impressed to get something like this entirely gratis, I decided I had to include it in my Links List!

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