A Hobby That's Out Of This World
God made the heavens and the earth and what an utterly fantastic job He did. Some people like to explore the land and will travel to the farthest corners of the earth. Others, the seas are their focus whether it’s the surface or underneath or even both.
Then there are those who like to explore space and all of the wonders contained way out there. There are those few blessed individuals who sometime during their life eventually get to go to outer space.
And then, there are the rest of us who just have to find other ways to explore that dimension of God’s creation.
A few years ago, there were not a whole lot of avenues available for the common man or woman to do any type of space exploration besides purchase a telescope and maybe join a local astronomy club.
Of course the Internet has now changed every aspect of home astronomy.
During actual space missions, NASA also makes live streaming video or audio available too. For example, if you type the following URL into your browser: nasa.gov/multimedia/isslivestream.asx, you’ll be able to view a live video stream from the International Space Station that is manned and active right now.
Don’t own a telescope? Websites such as gco.org.au/middle which is based out of Australia, provide occasional remote access to some very powerful telescopes.
Another Australian-based website at aao.gov.au doesn’t allow just anyone to remotely control their telescope, but the people at the Australian National Observatory do make available thousands of still images that have been captured with their equipment.
One of the best websites allowing you to actually remotely control a telescope or to simply view what’s being observed through a powerful telescope, can be found at telescope.org/webcams.php, and if you conduct a search at google.ca, you’ll find plenty of other remote control telescopes available from all over the world.
Did you ever visit a planetarium as a child? I did on several occasions and was always fascinated with the view. Now we can all rediscover that fascination by visiting virtual planetariums.
One of my favourites is located at neave.com/planetarium. It was designed by Paul Neave, who not only created the interactive planetarium but hundreds of other interactive applications.
Neave calls his website a “digital playground” and that’s a very accurate claim, so when you finish using the planetarium, be sure to check out all of the other great opportunities on the site as well.
There are hundreds of virtual planetariums on the web so just a quick search at google.ca will help you focus in on them. Well, I think I’ve provided more than enough to whet the appetite of anyone who’s interested in the field of astronomy as a hobby. Using cyberspace to reach outer-space – what a concept.
Tom DiFrancesca III has written hundreds of articles about computers and the Internet. His latest novel, ‘Boomerang,’ is available as a free eBook download at 4u-Lord.com.
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