Online Resources

This page contains links to various online charts, magazines, guides, and free software to help you in your observing activities. The following lists are by no means exhaustive, and are intended as starting points into your cosmic journey.


Weekly Columns

The following magazines publish online weekly columns on upcoming celestial events.

SkyNews is "The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy & Stargazing". Their website features a weekly This Week's Sky column which covers interesting celestial events and objects that can be observed from Canadian latitudes.

Sky & Telescope magazine's website offers a weekly This Week’s Sky At a Glance online column.

Astronomy is a monthly American magazine about astronomy, targeting amateur astronomers. It publishes The Sky this Week and The Sky this Month online.


Charts and Timetables

The following web sites provide free sky charts and calendars.

Heavens-Above provides free time tables and charts for observing Earth satellites that are visible to the naked eye (including the International Space Station). Also provides sky charts, as well as the positions of comets and asteroids.

La Société d'astronomie du Planétarium de Montréal présente une page Ciel du Mois qui renseigne sur des événements célestes, ainsi que sur des objets intéressants à observer durant le mois.

Skymaps.com provides The Evening Sky Map, a printable 2-page monthly guide of the night sky suitable for all sky watchers, including newcomers to astronomy. It includes a list of objects that are easily seen in binoculars. It also serves as a handy list of "showpieces" to present at outreach events.

In-The-Sky.org is an online repository of information about what's visible in the night sky, automatically tailored to any geographic location on Earth.

timeanddate.com has a useful moonrise, moonset, and phase calendar to help you plan when to observe deep sky objects without interference from the bright moon. It also has a sunrise and sunset calendar.

Darkness Calendar shows the month's sky darkness and moon brightness in one compact, color-coded table. Great for knowing the best times for observing or imaging deep sky objects.


Space Weather

The following web sites provide conditions and predictions on solar activity.

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center provides space weather conditions and forecasts. The Space Weather Enthusiasts Dashboard includes an image of visible sunspots, as well as a 24-hour aurora forecast. They also provide an experimental 3-day aurora forecast.

Space Weather Canada Provides current conditions and forecasts of geomagnetic (aurora) activity caused by the Sun's radiation and charged particles.

spaceweather.com provides news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Online Planetariums

The following are planetarium web applications that can run directly in your browser.

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is an open source is an open-source set of applications that display astronomical, earth and planetary data, allowing visual navigation through the 3-dimensional (3D) Universe. This project is managed by the American Astronomical Society.

Sky-Map.org (Skychart) is an online detailed sky map.


Free Software

The following are free software that can be installed on your computer. Most of them are compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

​Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is an open source is an open-source set of applications that display astronomical, earth and planetary data, allowing visual navigation through the 3-dimensional (3D) Universe. This project is managed by the American Astronomical Society. WWT provides a web browser interface, as well as a free Windows application.

The Digital Universe, developed by the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium, incorporates data from dozens of organizations worldwide to create the an accurate 3-D atlas of the Universe from the local solar neighborhood out to the edge of the observable Universe.

Celestia is an open-source free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. .

Virtual Moon Atlas is a free open source program for visualizing the moon as it should appear on any given date and time. It is useful for identifying which lunar features will be near the terminator on any given night. By installing additional textures, it's possible to visualize very fine lunar surface details.

Cartes du Ciel (Skychart) is a free open source program for drawing and printing your own sky charts, using data from several catalogs.


Free Mobile Apps

There are a vast number of astronomy-related mobile apps available. Here are a few free, popular ones to get you started.

​SkyPortal is a free planetarium and telescope control app offered by Celestron. It features augmented reality (compass mode), and is powered by the popular SkySafari software.


Heavens-Above provides precise pass information of the ISS, visible satellites, Iridium flares and radio satellites (includes ads).


Star Chart is a planetarium app that includes an augmented reality (AR) mode (includes in-app purchases).