Current Solar  Image/NASA Current Solar Carona/NASA

So, you want to go StarGazing...
    -   First, check your pollen counts, weather forecast & Sky_Transparency
    -   Then see if the moon is going to be too bright to see anything
    -   Check on your local SunRise/Set and Astronomical Twilight Times.
IF this checklist is OK
Then set your watch to the precise time & check the map to your destination,
so you won't get lost trekking out in the boonies.
...   and get out there and Observe!!
But... if this is not going to be a good observing night...
enjoy the links below, to better plan your next session ...

Everyone with a new interest in astronomy wants a telescope to view all
the pretty things up in the sky. It is humbling to realize that amateur
astronomy is a lot like hunting and fishing. It is the hunt that
is facinating, not the kill, (why do you hear so many stories
about... "the one that got away",   -they apply to astronomy also )
Astro-Objects do not just sit there waiting on you to look at them...
you must know what you are looking for... and then you must find them...
and know for sure that you actually have seen them.
So, please be careful to not rush too quickly to buy a telescope,
before you understand how it is used and how various scopes are used.
[It is hard to go deer hunting with that new rod & reel]
Attend a local science museum or planetarium [List], ask about an astronomy
club and participate in their next Star Party, to see how they use
their equipment and view different objects thru various instruments.
            -Clear Skies

    NASA site that features SunSpots, Aurora-Alerts,
    Comets & Close-approach asteroids.
    Solar-Astronomy & Ham-SW-reception
    SkyMaps Provides a really nice map of the sky for the
    current month (N & S hemisphere, he's an Aussie)
    retrieve/save/print these each month...
    they provide a nice list of things to look for
    with 1)Eye, 2)Bino & 3)SmallScope   categories.
    SFA's Dan Bruton provides a 4-page printable (.pdf) Atlas
    Japan: T.Taki provides a 12-page printable (.pdf) Atlas
    Astronomers use a computed almanac to determine exactly where
    an object will be in the sky on a given date/time from a specific
    location. When available, a computer-almanac is preferred.
    The classic reference is the annual USNO Ast-Almanac.
    See the RASC annual Handbook (below) for amateur needs.
    a presentation (new one each day, since Jun 1995)
    of some interesting astro-space image.
    usually research/Hubble-grade, sometimes amateur,
    but give excellent views & detail of something...
    has a good 'calendar' feature to locate prior photos...
    take a look at 08Nov1999 of the moon... has a Lunar Photo each day.
      the "Best of the Hubble Telescope"
      chosen (one per month?) as a 'pretty space photo'.
      Favorite-Fifty-Fotos from Down Under
    a basic and straight-forward one-page
    "what to look for" this month.
    Send the author an Email-thank-you note to encourage
    continuing to provide it...
    an OnLine Star Chart that runs in your browser
    set your location (by Country-City or Lat-Long)
    change Date/Time and see   WaaaSsupp !
    A popular amateur astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope
    provides a weekly astro-space news column (many other
    resources, too). It can be viewed online and there is
    an Email-subscription option.
    Comets are known as Dirty-SnowBalls and can come visit our
    inner-solar-system from the cold-dark areas beyond the planets.
    Gary Kronk is currently writing a Comet Encyclopedia
    with everything we know about comets and prior visits.
    An OnLine Photographic Lunar Atlas
    An OnLine Photographic Mars Atlas
    basically a NASA site as MrEclipse ( Fred Espanak)
    is the renowned Solar-Eclipse chaser for NASA...
    a basic 'what to look at' web-site. PDA friendly
    good overview of PLANETARY-astronomy
    and a section of History-People
  15. learn the constellations:
    a photographer with an interesting Night-Photography style,
    and some really nice Astro-Photos in his collection
    AstroPhotography is an interesting and rewarding hobby...
    these days, to start, anyone should consider Digital
    instead of film... there are many advantages of each.
    see 'astronomers' section for some Bio's and
    brief summaries of noted historical astronomers work.
    other sections give good variety/overview topics.
    the UTexas Astro dept has an interesting online
    guide for the SolarSystem and Galaxies.
    ( guías en español, tambien )
  20. British Astronomy Links
  21. parlez-vous français?
  22. sprechen Sie Deutsch?
    A basic astronomy-text-book online
    and a couple that go a little deeper...
    A "good" sky atlas online is hard to find.
    this one is just fine... for starters.
    or you can select Location/Time and generate a SkyView
    ( easy to download/install/use ShareWare version, too )
    an online astrometry resource.
    locate objects in the sky from your observing site
    NASA site for tracking major satellites and the shuttle (when UP)
    see the current location of: HST, ISS, Chandra and StarShine
    The Texas Star Party meets each Apr/May near Ft.Davis
    a week-long star-watching convention of some 650+
    astro-wannabees. No experience necessary.
    Plan to make reservations by late Jan, as it fills up.
    an excellent 'Observing Programs' for various astro-interests.
    Site has links to many good beginner pages.
    When you step outside and look at the sky, you see stars.
    With a binocular or a modest telescope with DARK-skies
    and knowing where and when to look...
    you begin to see: Emission Nebulae, Planetary Nebulae,
    Open clusters, Globular clusters and distant Galaxies.
    These are what were found by Charles Messier back in ~1770+...
    he was a comet-hunter and was distracted by comet-like
    objects that did not move through the sky from night to night
    and he made a list of the fuzzies that he found...
    they are the prettiest variety of beginning deep sky objects...
    This link provides a list of the Messier Objects,
    and what type it is and... a picture...
    Night Vision: in the dark of a moonless night, the "cones" (color) on your
    retina are not receiving enough light to function, the "rods" (light) receive
    the faint ambient light and twinkle from the stars as just (White) light.
    The ability of the eye to adjust and function in the low-light conditions can
    easily affect your enjoyment of astronomy. It can easily take 20-30 minutes
    for the eye to adjust to the dark and just a moment of "white-light" will
    re-start the adjustment (see Red Lights, below). Knowledge of the internals
    of the eye are beyond my knowledge, but I recently heard that a component of
    "Blue Berries", called anthocyanin, is helpful to the eye for dark adjustment.
    So, eat your Blue-Berry Muffin or add berries to your cereal for breakfast.
    Or check your drug-store "vitamins" for 'BilBerry Extract'. I found 1 gram,
    60-softgel Rexall bottle at Walmart for about $3.60, about a nickel per capsule...
    one or two per day. After I've consumed a couple bottles and have some reason
    to assess any affect, I'll mention it here. ...
    usual common sense cautions are in effect for self-prescribing herbs and vitamins.
  31. Glo-Toob™
    When you are out observing and your eyes have adapted
    to the dark night and you try to consult your almanac,
    atlas or notes, you need to have a RED light.
    MagLite has their 2xAAA & 2xAAA lights with red-filters.
    MagLite is supposed to be working on LED lights for later in 2003.
    Gerber(CMG) has their Infinity in White or RED LED
    CFR is a good source for Gerber(CMG) lights.
    Rigel has a variable-brightness-dual-RED-LED light.
  32.     $11/year
    This is a monthly (3 per mailing) Sky Calendar of what to look
    for during the month, mostly naked-eye or maybe using binoculars.
  33.   Atlases, Maps & Globes
    Pocket Sky Atlas $20   Item#59317
    An excellent and convenient all-sky Star-Chart/Atlas.
  34.     $10
    a must have Sky/Star road map.
    Learn to read a Map & Chart from S&T or R.Bell
    Observer's Handbook 2008   $32
    Observer's WallCalendar 2008   $20
    the HandBook (100thEd.) is GREAT... I have each issue, since about '81...
    It is a thorough reference for going out to look at the skies...
    The wall-calendar is really nice. Available in September.
  36. $250
    Edmund Scientifics in New Jersey has an excellent pair
    of Fujinon 7x50 Individual-Eyepiece-Focus binoculars
    at a great price. Search for SKU CR30534-59.
    A good pair of binoculars are always handy to check
    some area of the sky for details, and they can be easily
    used for other activities, unlike an Astro-Telescope.
    NOTE: these binoculars are Nitrogen-Filled,
    so, do NOT let any of your friends try to un-screw
    the objectives for a closer inspection, no matter how much
    they claim to know about binocular optics.