Useful Astronomy Programs

DS9  –

This program is a stand-alone image viewer and has a lot of useful functions such as image coordinate display, scaling of image colors and measuring point sources. Can be downloaded and run on its own on any platform. You can find a small cache of images from Foundations of Science at these locations to test out the image display:

Digital Universe

A fantastic database of stars and galaxies from the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Can be used to fly through the universe, and see the arrangement of galaxies and stars in 2D and 3D.

Starry Night

A very solid desktop planetarium program which provides very realistic views of the skies from anywhere on earth, and allows for one to simulate apparent celestial motion in the sky as well. The version 6.4 has a free download, and there is now a Version 7 as well.

NAAP Astronomy Applets –

This site is an amazing place for testing out some of the concepts in astronomy – astronomical coordinates, black bodies, light, exoplanets, and other topics are beautifully illustrated with applets that allow you to explore each topic and experiment with the physical parameters and see the results.

Sky Safari!/id766935884?mt=8

A very nice program which works on Android and IOS iphones for viewing the night sky. Has a very easy to use interface and large databases of celestial objects.

Stellarium –

A widely used program for viewing the night sky – also has the virtue that it is FREE. This program also does most of what any desktop planetarium can do, and simulates the night sky from any location, with animations showing the motions of stars and planets, as well as a great set of constellation figures from many cultures.

DSO_Browser –

This program is a great tool for planning observations and will allow you to look at a wide range of Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s), and plots their visibility throughout the night. It can filter objects by brightness, angular size and type of objects, and includes images of the object so you know more about what object you are looking at.