Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy
Some Astromical Websites
Some links are probably broken on this page. I will update it as I find
Websites on the Sky
Relevant mostly to the material in Chapters 2 and 3,
- Stellarium -- free planetarium-like software for Mac OS, Windows, or Linux
- Google Sky -- like Google Maps, but looking up
- Celestia -- free space views software for Mac OS, Windows, or Linux
- Antonio Cidadao's
Time-lapse Animations. A collection of very nice animations of
objects in the sky (the stars, moon, planets, etc.) done by an
History of Astronomy
Read the biographies of the following Astronomers in the "History of
Mathematics." Relevant to the material in Chapters 2 and 3.
Some Astronomical Observatories
Relevant to Tools of Science section on telescopes in chapter 3, though
discoveries made with these telescopes can be relevant to topics throughout
Websites on the Exploration of the Solar System
More focussed on rescent missions. Relevant to the material in chapters
4, 5, and 6.
- LRO -- The Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, conducting investigations
that prepare for future lunar exploration.
- LCROSS -- The Lunar CRater Observation
and Sensing Satellite orbited the moon in 2009 to search for water in
permantly shadowed craters at the lunar poles.
- GRAIL --
The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory consisted of two small satelites
that orbited the Moon for most of 2012. Accurate tracking mapped the
gravitational field of the Moon, which constrains its internal structure.
- Change'e 3 --
A Chinese lunar lander and rover (Yutu), that arrived on the surface
in December 2013 and are probably still operating (though the lander's
motor and instruments have failed). You can see pictures from the
mission at this Planetary Society
- MESSENGER -- Mercury Surface,
Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging: launced in 2005 and flew by
Earth, Venus (twice), Mercury (three times), before orbiting Mercury 2011 - 2015.
- Venus Express --
European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the atmosphere of Venus.
Orbited Venus between 2006 and 2014.
- Akatsuki --
literally "dawn", also known as the Venus Climate Orbiter; a
Japanese spacecraft to study the Venusian atmosphere. Failed to achieve
orbit around Venus in 2010, but was placed in orbit in 2015 using
attitude control thrusters.
- NASA Mars Exploration Page --
Has links to discussions of past, present, and future missions to Mars.
- Opportunity --
The two Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars
in 2003. Spirit become stuck in a dust-filled crater in 2009, but Opportunity
is still operating, having covered about 43.8 km so far. Since 2011
it has been exploring the 22 km diameter Endeavour crater.
- The Road to Endeavour --
A blog following the adventures of the Opportunity rover ("Oppy" to
its fans), with lots of images and commentary from a scientifically
literate layman. Begun in 2008 as Oppy started started the 20 km
trek to Endeavor crater.
- Curiosity --
NASA rover that has been exploring the Martian crater Gale and its
central peak Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) since 2012, obtaining
evidence for flowing water and lakes in the distant past at this site.
- ExoMars 2016 --
ESA Trace gas Orbiter arrived at Mars in October 2016 and will spend
2017 using aerobraking to reach its final orbit, where it will study
the martian atmosphere. It joins six other operating spacecraft orbiting
Mars. The associated Schiaperelli lander did not fire its retrorockets
for long enough and impacted the surface at high speed.
- NEAR Shoemaker -- Near Earth
Asteroid Rendevous Mission Orbited the asteroid Eros 2000 - 2001
before softly touching down and operating on the surface for several days.
- Hayabusa --
Japanese spacecraft that, despite many problems, visited and studied
the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa in 2005. It returned a sample of about
1500 small (10-100 micrometer) dust grains collected from the
surface in 2010.
- Hayabusa 2" --
Japanese mission to study and return a sample from the asteroid Ryuga.
Launched in 2014, will arrive at the asteroid in mid 2018 and return
a sample around the end of 2020.
- Dawn -- Orbited
the asteroid Vesta for more than a year. It left in 2012 and arrived
at the asteroid Ceres in 2015, where it has been since.
- Osiris-REx --
Launched in September 2016, will rendevouz with the Near-Earth asteroid
Bennu in August 2018, which it will study for over a year. In 2020 a
"touch-and-go" manuever will collect a sample which will be returned
to Earth, arriving in 2023.
- Rosetta -- ESA spacecraft
the rendezvoused with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on in 2014 and
followed it through its most recent close approach to the Sun. The
Philae lander was sent to the surface and Rosetta itself touched down
on the surface in September 2016, ending the mission.
- Galileo --
Galileo orbited Jupiter 1995 - 2003 and (slowly) sent back pictures
and other data.
- Juno --
NASA spacecraft that began orbiting Jupiter in 2016.
- Cassini-Huygens --
Cassini is orbiting Saturn and sending back pictures of the planet
and its moons. They Huygens probe landed on the moon Titan.
- The Giant Planet
Satellite and Moon Page -- An up-to-date listing of the moons of the
- New Horizons -- this spacecraft,
launched in 2006, flew by Pluto in 2015. Provided our first (and last,
for a long time) look at this world.
A few "Life on Mars" sites
Comets, Meteors, and Impacts
Planets Around Other Stars
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - a satellite dedicated to observing
the sun. Many interesting pictures and movies of solar activity.
- SDO: the Solar Dynamics
Observatory has been examining the Sun with high angular resolution since
- STEREO: a pair of spacecraft
that observe the Sun from positions leading and trailing the Earth in its
orbit. With SDO, they provide continous observations of the entire surface
of the Sun.
- GONG: Global Oscillation
Network Group - a group of six telescopes around the world that observe
the Sun for the purpose of doing helioseismology.
- Spaceweather.com News and
information about the Sun-Earth environment.
Modified January 23, 2017