Resources and Education

Here you’ll find the resources you need to get started observing, photographing, and more — your essential introduction to astronomy. Learn the best telescopes for starting out, the basics of using a star wheel, and find Spanish-language introductions to stargazing. Whatever you try, good luck and clear skies!

Stargazing Basics
Common (and not so common) Questions & Answers
Astrophotography Advice & Resources

perseids_meteor_shower

What is a meteor shower?

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through a stream of meteoric material. The brief streaks of luminescence we call meteors are caused by meteoroids burning up as they pass through the atmosphere.

Andreas Cellarius's illustration of the Ptolemaic System (17th century), which shows the solar system and signs of the zodiac with the Earth at the center.J. van Loon, National Library of Australia

Astrology vs Astronomy: What’s the difference?

The practices of astrology and astronomy have common roots, but they have evolved into two separate fields. Astronomy studies positions, motions, and properties of celestial objects. Astrology attempts to study how those positions, motions, and properties affect people and events on Earth.

New Comet Machholz

California's comet-hunting veteran Don Machholz bagged his 11th discovery on March 23 and 26, 2010. It's a faint diffuse comet, low in the morning sky.