100 Amazing Online Tools to Learn About Outer Space
Everyone from kids to teachers to adults who want to reach for the stars encounters problems. Telescopes are expensive and complex to operate. Observatories can be difficult to access. Information can be loaded with jargon. But with the help of the internet, these problems can be a thing of the past. Below are the most 100 amazing resources, sites, and free tools to help everyone learn about outer space.
General Space Sites
Ranging from the experts at the top of the game to amateurs, these sites have loads of information on outer space, exploration, technology, and much more.
1. NASA: A leader in space travel and technology, visitors can view everything from photos to celestial maps and get the latest information on missions and discoveries. You can even get interviews with the astronauts and mission leaders.
2. National Geographic: With options to explore the solar system and universe, this site is a must visit. You can also get a comprehensive history of space missions, as well as what is planned for the future.
3. HubbleSite: Now entering its nineteenth year, the Hubble remains one of the most prominent names in space technology. Get an array of images, research discoveries, and even a constellation guide for stargazers.
4. Chandra X-ray Observatory: X-rays are created and sent all throughout space, and this satellite captures them. You can get an array of interesting information on the satellite itself, as well as its mission.
5. Heavens Above: This site has an array of classic space exploration imagery from the 19th century. You can also get contemporary images as well.
6. Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy: Phil dedicates his site to debunking astronomy misinformation. Get the straight answers on errors in movies, television, the news, and more.
7. Astronomy Picture of the Day: Each day a different image or photograph of the universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. With pictures beginning in June of 1995, there is no shortage to the space information you can learn.
8. NASA Image Exchange: NIX allows visitors to view any of the thousands of photographs taken by NASA. Search by keyword or subjects such as aeronautics, space flights, and solar system.
9. WikiSky: Get an image of just about every major space object known to man. Popular images include the two tails of comet Lulin, Valentine’s day, and Big Bada Bum in Centaurus A.
10. Russian Space Web: Get information on the MIR Space Station, including how it was built, its many space modules, and even stories on close calls. There is also other space related information on this site.
11. JPL Solar System Simulator: This site will show you the solar system as our astronauts see it. By typing in what you want to see, and even when you want to see it in, this site will give you a virtual image of the solar system.
12. Space Shots: Kodak offers this free resource of pictures taken by astronaut John Glen, who pioneered the art of space photography. You can also get pictures from the current shuttle mission.
13. Popular Science: Get the latest in space news from this leading magazine. Recent stories include the Mars Rover and an attempt to intercept an asteroid.
14. Lunar X Prize: Sick of waiting for NASA or other governments to go to the moon again? Then read about this 30 million dollar competition to send the first privately funded team and robot to the moon.
15. Virgin Galactic: Richard Branson, whose SpaceShipOne won the original X Prize to launch a manned, privately funded craft to the edge of space, maintains this site. Visit here to learn more about the next privately funded mission.
16. Astroengine: Dr. Ian O’Neill brings you the latest on time space through this site. Get information on conspiracies, a look behind all the red tape, and much more.
17. UFO Watch: You don’t have to be a believer to enjoy this site. It is full of information on sightings, abductions, and news. You can even learn how to report your own sighting.
18. MIR Space Station 1986-2001: BBC News Online looks back at the life and times of the remarkable Mir space station. Get pictures, history, and more.
19. Google Mars: Want to see the surface of the red planet, but don’t have a telescope? Then visit this site for images with information on elevation, visibility, and even infrared pictures.
20. Spitzer Space Telescope: This is one of NASA’s newest and most advanced telescopes. You can get images, information, and more.
21. Earth as Art: Here you can view our planet through the images taken by the Landsat-7 satellite and the Terra Satellite. You can also get high resolution images for your collection.
22. BLACKHOLES: Got a specific question about a black hole? This site probably has the answer. Questions range from how big they are to what would happen if you fell in one.
23. GeoEye: This site allows you to view satellite images from historic time periods. You can get images on natural disasters and even from some of the man made structures viewable from space.
24. ExploreMarsNow: With the dream of accomplishing this in 2015, get the latest on a possible mission to Mars. Get a ton of information on everything from conditions on Mars to plans for a base, and much more.
25. AstroPix: Anyone interested in adding space photographs to their collection should visit this site. You can get loads of images, tips on taking pictures, and even equipment recommendations.
26. Space Weather: Think weather only happens on Earth? Then visit this site to see how hot or cold nature can really get.
27. Slate Magazine: A leader in independent news, “Slate” has many space related articles. Get the latest information on NASA, along with criticisms and more.
28. International Space Archives: This is a digital library containing the best of the incredible imagery created by the exploration of the universe. Get images on astronauts, space missions, and even classroom videos.
29. Space.com: This site contains the latest news and information on satellites, stars, NASA, Astronomy, and more. Also of interest is a feature on the real Dr. McCoy, whom the Star Trek character is based on.
30. Space Archive: This site is the source for regional space information. You can get a launch schedule, the latest news, and information for photographing satellites.
31. Sun Earth Plan: Run by the UK, you can learn more about the sun, stars, and Earth, and even read more on the Sun Earth Plan. You can also get information for the advanced space student, or even send in a space question to an expert.
32. Night Sky Observer: Visit here for the latest in astronomy. In addition to regularly updated news, you can also get videos and podcasts.
33. Columbia is Lost: From the “San Francisco Chronicle” comes this essay on the lost space shuttle. Get information on the astronauts, causes, and links to more related information.
34. Solar Views: Available in four languages, get images of the solar system from every angle. You can also see archived images and even calculate how much you would weigh on other planets.
35. SpaceMart: Get the latest in space business and industry news. You can also get news on Terra, Mars, and more.
36. Rattlesnake Observatory: Get the latest planetary, nebula, and planetary images from Vincent Bert. You can also get a live image of the moon, including percentage full and information on the lunar phases.
37. Royal Observatory: Located in Greenwich, England, this observatory is part of the National Maritime Museum. Make sure to view the entries on Mercury and the Lyrids Meteor Shower.
38. Space Junk: Ever wonder what happens to the items lost in space? Then visit this site for a complete list, including what it is, who it came from, and how it happened.
39. Orbital Debris Program Office: Worried about space junk reentering orbit? So is NASA, and this site shows what they are doing to combat it.
40. ESA Earthnet: The European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite orbits the globe making continuous observations of the land, sea, and atmosphere. You can get impressive images of the earth, and even live images from the satellite itself.
41. NASA Eclipse Web Site: Get the latest information on past eclipses, along with images. You can even plan a sighting of the next eclipse in your area.
42. Moon Phase Info: Got questions about the moon and its phases? Then visit this site for the answers, and even a current reading on the moon.
43. Kennedy Space Center: Located in Orlando, this camp is one of the most recognized names in space. You can get a ton of information on upcoming events, plan a visit, or watch a video.
44. Astropics: Robert Gendler is a Connecticut physician and one of the most talented amateur astronomers in the world. Visit his site to view images of galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and more.
45. The Nine Planets Solar System Tour: Now with eight planets, you can get a multimedia tour of our entire solar system. Explore each planet, their moon(s), and even the dwarf planets and other small bodies.
46. Pluto Demoted: Get the story behind the elimination of the ninth planet of our solar system. Learn the research behind the decision, along with quotes from top scientists.
47. Astronomy Boy: Jeff has had a lifelong interest in astronomy and observes the skies with the help of a telescope and local observatory. The information at this web site is intended for amateur astronomers, newcomers, deep sky observers, and astrophotographers.
48. Non-Messier Objects Indexes: Anyone interested in this topic should visit this site. There is an array of images, and they are even sorted by type, along with names for deep sky objects.
49. The Planetary Society: The world’s largest space-interest group, the society is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. Get the latest news, features, and even membership information.
50. National Space Society: The NSS is dedicated to people thriving in communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity. Read a mission blog, get information on local chapters, and find out how you can help.
51. Space Daily: Get daily news updates on outer space from a host of other sites. You can also get information on space technology, Terra, Mars, the Sun, and more.
52. Systemic: Ever wonder about other planets beyond our solar system? Then visit this site for images, commentary, and more.
53. Space Art on the Web: Get stunning images from some of the top astronomical artists in the world. Subjects include the Earth, nebulas, extrasolar planets, and more.
54. Home Planet 3.3: Download this free software to turn your PC into an outer space learning machine. It is full of tools for exploring outer space, the universe, and much more.
55. Worldwide Telescope: This free download from Microsoft enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. In addition, you can see how others have used this program or take a tour.
56. Stellarium: This is a free open source planetarium for your PC or Mac. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope.
57. Google Sky: Love Google Earth? Then give this program a try to view the skies just as easily as you could see the land. With images from the Hubble and more, this is ideal for space explorers, and there is even an instructional video.
58. Sky Charts: This free, downloadable program allows you to draw your very own sky charts. The site also offers screenshots and instructions.
Best Space Learning for Kids
The below sites focus on kids, teens, parents, teachers, and the space explorer who is young at heart.
59. The Space Place: Offered by NASA, this site has tons of games, projects, and cartoons for kids. Don’t forget to watch an episode of Clubhouse TV or be a contestant on the Space Place Quiz Show.
60. Imagine the Universe: Intended for students age 14 and up, this site is excellent for those who want to learn about outer space. Get the latest news aimed for a younger audience, exhibit information, and even readings from satellites.
61. Star Child: This site is a learning center for elementary aged students. You can get a glossary of space terms, information on the solar system and universe, along with history and stuff for the classroom.
62. The National Schools’ Observatory: This site is ideal for students, teachers, and children who are interested in space. You can observe the moon, planets, stars, and galaxies, as well as view many other outer space images.
63. Space Views: Although currently in the process of moving, you can still find information for kids on space. Make sure to visit the page on the Mars Pathfinder for interesting information and even a quiz.
64. Students K-4: Part of the education phase of NASA, this site has stories, a dictionary, and homework for students in this age bracket. Make sure to visit the Play & Learn section for its educational games.
65. Amazing Space: Teach kids all about the Hubble telescope and its discoveries on this site. You can also get a ton of activities, including what to look for in the current night sky.
66. NASA Kids’ Club: Intended for grades 1-5, this site is full of games, information, and more. You can also view educational videos and get tips for safe surfing.
67. Space Camp: These camp programs are offered one week each year at the Huntsville campus and offer an Astronaut Luncheon with Bob Springer. You can get more information on the camp, listen to a podcast, or watch a video.
68. Windows to the Universe: Get stories, history, information on space missions, and even jokes on this site for children. Visit the Strange Stuff in Space section for even more interesting topics for kids.
69. Ask Dr. Universe: Part of Washington State University, kids can send in their science and space related questions for an expert answer. You can also view previous questions from other students.
70. How Stuff Works: This site is ideal for those who have kids or students who ask tough questions. Get answers for questions on space exploration, flight, and the future. Be sure not to miss the article on Spaceship One.
71. Arty the Astronaut: Younger children will love this site for its action, exploration, and games. Teachers can also get interesting facts about space and links to other educational websites.
72. Learning Adventures: This site focuses on the new International Space Station. Discover how it is being built, who is building it, why it’s being built, and more.
73. So You Want to be an Astronaut?: Kids interested in exploring space themselves will enjoy this article by USAjobs. It gives the basic requirements and even selection criteria.
74. Lockheed Martin Space Day: With events all over the country, this site is a leading source for teaching children about space. You can get a Space Day Tool Kit with lesson plans, play a game, or learn more about the Rocket Contest.
75. Sally Ride Science: One of the most prominent female astronauts in history, Sally Ride’s website is full of information for educators, parents, and girls. Learn when the next program is coming to your town or check out one of the books.
76. Time for Kids: This leading magazine has a special edition for kids. In addition to space, kids can learn about other global topics by grade. The current issue is dedicated to the moon landing.
77. Starry Night Education: This company provides leading software to teach students all about outer space. You can read an article, utilize the resources, or even get a free download of Galileo’s Universe.
78. Understanding the Universe: Visit here for tons of tips for teachers who instruct on outer space. You can also take a galaxy tour, learn about space pioneers, and get the facts on cool, yet mind boggling concepts.
79. Space Food Insights: Ever wonder what or how astronauts eat in space? Then visit this site full of entries written by astronauts and NASA professionals.
80. Kids Konnect: Get loads of information on astronauts past and present from this site. You can also get information on missions, women in space, and much more.
81. Space Janitor: From “National Geographic Kids” comes this game for future astronauts. Be sure to check out the space shuttle game as well.
82. Astronomy for Kids: This astronomy resource is designed to teach children about the exciting world of outer space. You can play a game, learn more about space travel, and even get free online classes.
83. Astro-venture: This amazing site actually allows students to design their own planets. You can also get loads of scientific information on astronomy training, missions, and more.
85. Virtual Astronaut: Like the name says, this site is as close as you can get to becoming an astronaut without boarding a shuttle. Available in 3D, Flash, or text.
86. Plane Math: Got a student who loves astronomy but hates math? Then take them to this site to learn how to do math like the astronauts from NASA do.
Videos and Podcasts
These sites have outer space teaching and learning resources available to watch instantly or as a free download.
87. NASA TV: Get an array of videos on everything from the latest space mission to an interview with Buzz Aldrin. You can also search the archives for historic missions and launches.
88. NASA Television’s Channel: NASA has also set up a channel for their videos on YouTube. With over 300 to choose from, you are sure to learn lots about space.
89. NASA Podcasting: With tons of episodes to choose from, make time for this site. You can even get links to other informational NASA podcasts on the latest technology, musings, and much more.
90. Naked Science: Part of the National Geographic channel, this premiere science show has many items devoted to space. Watch videos on the birth of the earth, the deadliest planets, and even a theory for a working time machine.
91. Discovery Channel: With a whole section devoted to outer space, you can get loads of videos, including one on antimatter explosions. You can also read blogs about space, the latest news, and more.
92. Science Channel: This site focuses on technology, earth science, geology, and of course: space. Recent videos include the latest on the Hubble telescope and a look at the transporter technology used in Star Trek.
93. Space Video Collection: This site has a ton of space related videos to choose from. Learn about everything from black holes to space missions, and much more.
94. Space Task Force: In this podcast, the hosts scour the headlines, talk with experts, and key people inside the aerospace industry to bring you the latest in space news.
95. Discovery Space Podcast: These video podcasts take you inside the world of NASA and deep into space. You can download first-hand accounts from the astronauts themselves about what it was like to experience space exploration and so much more.
96. Science and Society: Although there are many podcasts on all aspects of science, there is a special section for space exploration. A recent episode included an interview with the director of an observatory who has been there since 1974.
97. Shuttle Source: These videos are ideal for space shuttle enthusiasts. With over 60 to choose from, you can everything from some of the most historic launches to the latest mission.
98. Top 10 Space Videos: New Scientist brings you this collection of space videos. The Ares V8 makes the top of the list, along with a meteor compilation.
99. Space Shuttle Video Library: With videos dating back to 1981, you are sure to find a video on just about any shuttle mission. Many of the videos even have commentary from the astronauts themselves.
100. First Podcast from Space: Astronaut Steve Robinson from the Space Shuttle Discovery gave this groundbreaking podcast on his last day of orbit. Get an inside look at the STS-114 Mission, including humorous stories and surprises.
Space knows no boundaries and is being mirrored by the eruption of excellent space and astronomy related websites. Make sure to utilize these 100 sites whether teaching about outer space or learning it yourself.