Astronomy Websites to Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a few of my favorite astronomy websites.


This blog is designed to simplify the lives of professional astronomers, but many of their tips are helpful for scientists at all levels. One of my favorite posts is Learning to Give Better Talks, and today’s post helps control your inbox. AstroBetter also has a fantastic wiki filled with information about reducing data, using astronomical software, finding summer internships, and more.


The webpage of Astronomy magazine offers space news, equipment reviews, observing highlights, and other useful information for amateur astronomers. Their StarDome simplifies observing planning by letting you take a sneak peek at tonight’s sky.

The Heart Nebula

The Heart Nebula is one example of APOD's fantastic selection of images, and is particularly appropriate for Valentine's Day. Image from APOD.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

As the name suggests, APOD features a different gorgeous astronomical image each day. The fantastic images are supplemented with a short description of the astrophysics behind the image and plenty of links to related information and images. Today’s image of the Rosette Nebula is well-suited for Valentine’s Day, but one of my favorite images is this shot by James Vernacotola of STS-130 taking off from Florida last February.

Bad Astronomy

The Bad Astronomer Phil Plait covers a wide range of topics in science from reporting on space news to debunking hoaxes. Check out the Bad Astronomer’s awesome collection of Spitzer’s Greatest Hits and his chat with Andrew Shaner of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. One of today’s posts even features hearts in space!


NASA’s website is chock-full of fascinating information about missions and space news . They also have a wide selection of multimedia including videos of shuttle launches, mission training, and other exciting moments in space. Today’s exciting moment will happen around 11:40 PM EST when NASA’s re-purposed Stardust-NExT spacecraft will fly by comet Tempel 1 to image the impact crater left by Deep Impact in summer 2005. Live online coverage of the Stardust-NExT encounter will begin on NASA TV at 11:30 PM EST, but the team doesn’t expect to receive images from the spacecraft until around 3:00 AM EST.

NASA Watch

Run by Keith Cowing, NASA Watch is a great resource for space policy news. Check out the recent post on the NASA 2012 Budget and the handy calendar of upcoming space events and launches in the sidebar. You can also sign up for daily newsletter.

The Planetary Society

Founded by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman in 1980, the Planetary Society is a wonderful resource for everyone interested in space exploration. The Planetary Society’s motto is, “To inspire the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere.” They achieve this goal by funding astronomers, by supporting innovative technologies like the solar sail, and by leading an active space advocacy program. The Society also publishes a bimonthly magazine and maintains a fantastic website with a blog and a weekly radio show. Check out Planetary Society blogger Emily Lakdawalla’s recent post on the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.

Sky & Telescope

Designed for amateur astronomers, the website of Sky and Telescope magazine includes equipment reviews, astronomy news, and observing highlights. One of my favorite features is “This Week’s Sky at a Glance,” which provides a quick summary of what to watch for each week. is yet another wonderful resource for space news and videos. Some recent posts of note include coverage of the ongoing Mars500 simulation in Moscow, the announcement of the House Space Panel members, and coverage of the Stardust-NExT encounter with comet Tempel 1.

Universe Today

Universe Today provides both a discussion form and a blog covering space news. Check out today’s post on yesterday’s impressive solar flare and this thought-provoking post on binary star systems in Star Wars.

WorldWide Telescope

Ever wish you had the universe on your computer? With WorldWide Telescope you do. This fantastic website allows users to display images from a wide variety of sources and overlap them to compare how features appear in different wavelength regimes. Try out the web version here or (for Windows users) download the Windows client from the <a href="”>main page.

What are your favorite online resources?

About Courtney Dressing

I am a fourth-year graduate student in the Astronomy Department at Harvard University. My research interests include exoplanets, habitability, and astrobiology. I received a master's degree in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. At Princeton, I worked with Jill Knapp to study the magnetic activity of M dwarfs with white dwarf companions and with Dave Spiegel to model the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets. For my senior thesis, I worked with Ed Turner, Michael McElwain, and the SEEDS (Strategic Explorations of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru) collaboration to directly image young Jovian exoplanets using the Subaru telescope. At Harvard, I am working with Dave Charbonneau to study the properties, frequency, and detectability of small planets orbiting small stars.

Discover more from astrobites

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


  1. I think you guys missed a big one in Portal to the Universe: which brings together new stories/blog posts from across a huge number of news outlets and mission press sites. It’s a great resource for keeping up with what’s going on if you want a one-stop-shop.

    Another recommendation is the Spitzer public outreach site ( I’ll admit my bias upfront, cos I work for them, but the video podcasts are fabulous (, especially the IRrelevant Astronomy series, and in particular the Robot Astronomy Talk Show (RATS). We use them a *lot* when going out to do outreach in schools and with the public.

    • Thanks, Carolyn. Both of those sites should definitely have been on the original list. My apologies for leaving them out!

    • Thanks! We’ll enjoy checking them out.

  2. There are two other blogs I’ve followed over ~4 years that often have great astronomy content:

    Cosmic Variance


    Cosmic Variance is well known, but special props to Sabine @ BackReaction for writing some of the clearest entry-level explanations of contemporary research I’ve ever read – it was very useful during my undergrad days. Her old posts are quite worth spending an afternoon going over.

    • Thanks for the recommendations, Tony!

  3. Another recommendation is the Spitzer public outreach site. . Her old posts are quite worth spending an afternoon going over.



  1. What are some good resources for learning about astronomy/astrophysics? (currently editing answer) - Quora - [...] feed reader though) - really cool professor webpage on cosmology => another astro website directory => nice visualizations [...]
  2. Quora - What are the best websites and resources to learn about space?... Yup Most of the sites here aren't very mathematical…

Leave a Reply