Ancient Astronomy: Humanity's observations and attempts to relate such reports to possible events in the sky. One famous example is the attempt to track down which event was related to the Star of Bethlehem. There are two more sites talking about the Wise Men and the Star of Christ and being open to several interpretations: the "Stars" of Bethlehem.
From Stargazers to Starships: A nice presentation on Astronomy from early times to spaceflight can be found on this site.
The Stonehenge rock circle has most likely been an ancient observatory. After the reunification of Germany airial photography has opened up the eastern part of Germany to new archeological surveys. Circles much older (≈ 3000 years) than Stonehenge have been found, which are thought to be similar observatories. See the recent article in National Geographic.
Hubble Space Telescope: The wonders of far-away objects are brought to us through HST Images by Subject (Pictures from Hubble Space Telescope). The observations range from planets, to many starsystems, to black holes and galaxies. There is also a page with all News Items on Hubble findings.
Want to see satellites in the sky? There are several websites that provide you with satellite visibility predictions, for example the NASA Satellite Overpass Predictor or Heavens Above. The International Space Station can bea very prominent object in the sky.
Space Weather Center: With more information on the Sun and on the Earth's environment we move moved into a position to track Space Weather. The Space Weather Center at NOAA is improving the tools towards a moderate forecast in the near future. A key region that needs to be understood for this endeavor is the Earth's Magnetosphere. For the insurance industry's take on space weather and how it can impact the earth, visit the Swiss Space Weather site.
Spacecraft: Currently various spacecraft are checking out objects in our solar system:
- The NEAR spacecraft has already visited one asteroid in an orbit around the Sun very close to Earth, and it is on its way to a second rendevous. Early results and the status of the spacecraft can be found on the NEAR project homepage. High on its list is the study of the "debris" (comets and asteroids) in our solar system, because this is where we get closest to the material as it was during the formation of the Sun and the planets.
- The Galileo project is working on the other end. It is roaming through the realm of the largest planet, Jupiter. On the project's homepage, you will find exciting pictures of the the moon Europa, which seems to have oceans under thick icecrusts. This is an immensely exciting finding, because the presence of liquid water is an important prerequisite of life as we know it, and it is very, very rare. The confirmation of this finding will have far reaching consequences. That is why a Europa orbiter mission has jumped very high on the wish list of planetary scientists.
Current and possible future projects that Professor Möbius is involved with are:
- We are in a study phase for the Interstellar Boundary EXplorer (IBEX), which will image the boundary of the heliosphere in neutral atoms and will map the flow of interstellar Oxygen into the solar system.
- The Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) will take stereoscopic pictures of coronal mass ejections, as they leaves the Sun, and will sample the solar wind at two locations simultaneously.
- The Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) is studying samples of matter from the Sun and our galaxy, as well as how particles get accelerated to high energies.
- The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is studying processes inside and on the surface of the Sun and how they are linked with what is going on in interplanetary space.
- The Solar Probe is planned to dive into the sun's corona for the first time.
- The Fast Auroral SnapshoT Explorer (FAST) is studying the Aurora with very high time resolution.
- Anglo-Australian Observatory: A catalogue of over 200 copyrighted images (fine for personal use, not to be reproduced without written permission).
- European Southern Observatory: Includes many photographs, along with press releases, information on astronomical events, and a page for ordering full-sized posters of selected images (if you can convert dollars to deutchmarks!).
Exploration in Education: Download electronic picture books, tutorials, and reports on space science topics. A program of the Special Studies Office at the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Thursday's Classroom: A "connection between NASA's latest research and the classroom environment" Includes information and lesson plans on NASA projects and research topics.
A Tutorial in Radioastronomy can be found at the Haystack Observatory.
Interested in a Planetarium visit? Check out what is up at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.
The Whole Nine Planets: The Nine Planets Website by the Lunar and Planetary Institute of the University of Arizona is a comprehensive introduction to our solar system.
The Sun: Taking its place at the center of our solar system, the sun makes life on Earth possible in many more ways than one.
- You may be surprised to find out that the sun's output in fact not constant. The total amount of sunshine varies on the scale of the solar cycle of about 11 years, although ever so slightly.
- Yohkoh Public Outreach Project: includes movies, games, and other outreach materials from the Yohkoh x-ray telescope.
- The Virtual Sun is a short tour through the sun, with plenty of pictures and MPEG movies (some large, some small) of the photosphere and corona.
- A brief introduction to the sun (with other links) from the Views of the Solar System: The Sun page.
- Slide show on the sun and its environment from John Oliver at the University of Florida.
- Find past and future solar eclipses, and here is the next Total Solar Eclipse (August 21, 2017)that is visible from the US mainland
Aurorae: Related to the Sun's Activity is the Aurora Display in the Earth's polar regions
The Inner Planets:
- Mercury: Introduction to Mercury from Views of ther Solar System: Mercury. Mercury was explored from 1973-75 by the Mariner spacecraft.
- Venus: Introduction to Venus from Views of the Solar System: Venus. Venus was most recently explored in 1989-94 by the Magellan spacecraft.
- Earth: Great information about our home planet is accessible through Earth Science Links on the Earth Magazine site.
- Mars: The Mars Academy is an on-line collaborative project where students worldwide are designing a manned mission to Mars. This site includes web chats with scientists, interactive mission design pages, and much more. Mars was most recently explored by the Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Global Surveyor is also making news.
Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites:
If you want to learn about Meteors, Meteoriods and Meteorites as well as some other features in the Solar System, check out the Meteor Web Site of the Hawaian Observatory.
Meteorites hitting the moon produce visible explosions. NASA plans to have a software for amateurs available soon.
The Outer Planets:
- Jupiter: Introdution to Jupiter from Views of the Solar System: Jupiter. Jupiter is currently being studied by the Galileo spacecraft .
- Saturn: Introdution to Saturn from Views of the Solar System: Saturn. Saturn will soon be explored by the Cassini spacecraft, and has been visited by Voyager I.
- Uranus: Introdution to Uranus from Views of the Solar System: Uranus. Uranus has been the subject of a flyby of Voyagers I and II, and has been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Neptune: Introdution to Neptune from Views of the Solar System: Neptune. Neptune has also been studied by Voyagers I and II, and has been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Pluto: Introdution to Pluto from Views of the Solar System: Pluto. Pluto has not yet been visited by human spacecraft, but the Pluto-Kuiper mission is now in its planning phase.
Fun Project: Make icosohedral (20-sided) models of the Sun, Venus, Earth, our Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Ganymede, and Callista by printing out the JPEGs on this page from the Views of the Solar System site!
The Radio JOVE Project: Participants in this project build a small radio telescope. Radio Jove is an educational project to involve secondary school students in collecting and analyzing observations of the natural radio emissions of the planet Jupiter and the Sun. Participating students get hands-on experience in gathering and working with space science data.
International Jupiter Watch: In late 1999 scientists and observers around the world will collaborate as a part of International Jupiter Watch and monitor Jupiter closely as Galileo crosses the orbit of Io several times. Ground-based observations are important at wavelengths not observable by Galileo and give a different perspective on the sources. Widely scattered observations help to overcome the variable filtering effects of the Earth's ionosphere. Thus students using simple, inexpensive radio receivers can participate in the scientific process by collecting, comparing, sharing, and analyzing data.
- INSPIRE (Interactive NASA Space Physics Ionosphere Radio Experiments): This program involves students in ionospheric observations through the building of special Very Low Frequency (VLF) receiver kits and making their own measurements.
Near Earth Object Impacts:
- Impact Threat Site (NASA Ames): A comprehensive site devoted to the possibility of near earth objects (NEOs -- asteroids and short-period comets) impacting the planet Earth.
- Impact Craters: Discussion of impact craters from NEOs that have hit the Earth in the past
- Dinosaur Extinction: Basic tutorial on current theories of dinosaur extinction, including NEO impacts
The Nine Planets Website by the Lunar and Planetary Institute of the University of Arizona also features an extensive collection of links to sites with information on extrasolar planets.
Follow the search for regular planets around other stars. More than 100 planets have been identified (up to 2003) and counting!
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has compiled a nice tutorial about extrasolar planets.
This search was started by the observation that planets orbit even a pulsar. On this subject there is a special Pulsar planets homepage.
Both NASA and ESA work on space missions to detect habitable planets around stars in the cosmic neigborhood.
• NASA has the Discovery class mission Kepler
• ESA works on the large scale mission Darwin.
Interstellar Medium: Space is not empty, but what is between the stars? See the first learning page about the Interstellar Medium. It has been compiled by a pair of former UNH students.
Learn about the formation of stars from a guided tour with pretty pictures.
Cyber Space: Designed for students by students! Lot of great information.
Webstars: Astrophysics in Cyberspace: A thorough compendium of links to many sites, broken down into topics.
When stars collide, a video clip that explains what happens.
Take a cyber tour of the universe with the Galaxy Zoo.
Black Holes: There are quite a few Black Hole sites out there. But beware, not everything is good information! You may want to visit Stephen Hawking on the Web. Take a cyber tour to a black hole and learn plenty of no-nonsense stuff on black holes.
Amazing Space: Great site that provides a set of web-based activities from the Hubble Space Telescope Institute.
Cosmic Mystery Tour: An extertaining multimedia guide to the cosmos from the University of illinois.
StarChild: This site offers information at the basic level. The site includes a glossary and multi disciplinary games like planet tac toe, Mathy Way and Solar System Shuffle.
Imagine the Universe: Similar in concept to StarChild, but aimed at students aged 14 and up.
Find out how the entire universe is being mapped out by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the 2DF Survey. The search for the first galaxies is on! Check out a recent article in National Geographic.
Browse a comprehensive description of the current hot Big Bang model and the relevant observations.
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) is providing the most detailed pictures of the "Baby Universe" thus far. Learn about this journey to the beginning of our universe!
The first 3D map of Dark Matter in the universe was just published in early 2007.
NASA Astrobiology: A reliable source for studies on possible extraterrestrial life
SETI Institute: If you are interested in the ongoing search for possible life in other places in the universe, check them out.
Federation of American Scientists: Visit here if you want to follow the ongoing debate about potential findings of past life signs on Mars.
Planetary Society: To do a search on their files, enter your search criteria (for example, "extraterrestrial" and "life") and you will be presented with information from several sides of the debate.
Life in extreme conditions on Earth: Research in this area is opening up new possibilities for extraterrestrial life forms!
Finding Earth-like planets in orbit around other stars. This is a challenging task. Find out how you can do it from the Planet Quest website.
We may also ask ourselves whether it is worth and/or feasible to attempt colonization of space or any of the bodies in our solar system besides Earth. As part of an Astronomy Honors Project Nicholas Burns has compiled a few sources on space colonization.
Currently, there are four major Space Science themes which are pursued under NASA's sponsorship:
Each one of these themes lends itself as a starter for a nice Term Paper!
(If you need help with getting your Term Paper into great shape, take advantage of the services that the UNH Writing Center is offering you!)
The research specialty of Professor Möbius is Space Science -- that is, the study of the closer neighborhood of the Earth and the Sun with satellites and spaceprobes. This research is sponsored and structured in the United States through NASA. The latest mission is the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) was launched in October 2008.
Prof. Möbius' research field can be found through the Space Physics Homepage. If you are interested in what is going on in his research group in Morse Hall, check out the Experimental Space Plasma Group homepage. You will find out in which projects he and his colleagues are involved and how students can get their own experience through research.
There is a brand new Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center that features explanations in layman's terms for most of these research areas. Windows to the Universe also features sections on the Advanced Composition Explorer, one of Dr. Möbius' projects.