6 funky astronomy sites to see how cool space and the universe are

World Space Week kicks off on October 4 to celebrate the glory of the world beyond Earth and humanity’s contributions. The official theme for 2022 is Space and Sustainability, and it is an important topic. But you know what’s even more exciting? Looking at how damn cool the space is. And these sites are here to show you the magnificence of our universe in all its glory.

Astronomy is inherently intriguing to humans. For centuries we have looked to the sky and slowly peeled away the layers of the great cosmos beyond. It’s fascinating, it’s mysterious and it’s downright fun. From exploring space in a tab to controlling a giant telescope in Mexico through your browser, these websites emphasize the fun elements of space and still teach you a thing or two.

1. Who’s in space? (Web): Astronauts (and other things) currently in space

Did you know that at no point in time are there a few people on Earth? The International Space Station has a crew of astronauts and scientists who do remarkable things while orbiting the planet in space. Who Is In Space (WISS) is the story of these explorers and what they do.

Created by Destin Sendlin of Smarter Every Day, one of the best educational YouTube channels, WISS shows a portrait of every individual in space right now, along with the total time they’ve spent so far and the mission she’s on. launched. And then there are other funny parts, like the total number of toilets in space right now or active robots exploring space beyond what humans can do.

WISS also collects cool stats about space, such as which astronaut has spent the most time in space or how many people have left Earth’s gruff tires. Sendlin is a space geek and the site also links to some of his videos about the importance of space exploration and the cool explorers who go there.

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2. Space in browser (Web): Explore space through a desktop browser

Space In Browser is a unique way to explore the great afterlife over the internet. It doesn’t look good on phones, so make sure you’re using a computer with a modern browser. The site is still fairly new and the developer promises several additions, but it’s a promising start that’s worth checking out.

For the most part you can explore the Earth, things in low Earth orbit, the Moon and Mars. Click on any of these objects to bring them into focus. You can spin them around to see different aspects of what they look like while getting additional information about them in the sidebar.

For example, near the moon you will find information about all Apollo missions that NASA has undertaken. Click on a mission and the landing site will be marked on the moon. And you can even listen to John F. Kennedy’s speech at the launch of the Apollo program. All in all, it’s a cool and fascinating look at space and humanity’s relationship with it.

3. NASA’s eyes (Web): NASA’s Best Visualizations of Space for the Common Man

Eyes is one of the coolest NASA sites to explore space. Using real data from satellite and telescope images, along with images rendered by NASA’s science visualization studio, Eyes provides a never-before-seen view of the universe, all from your browser.

The main showpieces are the solar system, asteroids around the earth, exoplanets and the earth itself. In each you get an interactive 3D experience, where you can zoom, pan, rotate and click on objects to learn more about them. The visualization of the solar system is the most detailed, but the others are no slouch. It is in a nutshell 3D Google Maps of the universe.

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Installing the NASA Eyes app unlocks a few other features besides what you see in a browser. Eyes offers tours of things like the Voyager mission or eclipses in our solar system, explaining everything in simple terms for the common man to understand.

4. iTelescope (Web): Remotely control high-end telescopes to view space

Not everyone has a telescope at home, let alone the kind of professional telescopes needed to view distant galaxies or for astrophotography. But the internet gives you free access to it.

Register with iTelescope and all members get access to one telescope in the US and another in Australia. Paid members have access to more telescopes. You can set where and when you want to point the telescope and click on a photo.

It’s a little confusing if you’re a newbie, with a lot of technical terms thrown at you, but iTelescope has detailed guides to guide you through the steps. You can also check out other members’ configurations to see what they point their telescopes at, which is a great way to learn more.

5. See a satellite tonight (Web): Simple, free app to watch satellites pass overhead

No telescopes or equipment, just your naked eye watching as satellites shoot across the night sky. Sounds hard to believe, but it’s easier than you might think. See A Satellite Tonight (SAST) tells you where and when to watch.

Simply grant the app access to your location and in a few minutes you will get a list of satellites passing over you and visible without tools. SAST adds illustrations for what the satellite will look like from the ground (and its orbit in space), so you know exactly what to look for. It’s so simple, it’s no wonder that SAST is one of the most extraordinary sites for fans of space travel and astronomy.

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6. The size of the room (Web): Interactive Visualization of the Scale of the Universe

You know the universe is really, really, really big, but our brains can’t visualize exactly how big. The Size of Space is a fun, interactive website to try to show the true scale of the known observable universe.

You start with an astronaut and then scroll right to other objects that can be found in space. And you keep going through asteroids, satellites, planets, stars, galaxies and clusters to see how big everything is (and how insignificantly small we are). It’s a cool way to get perspective, but also fun to see how there can be moons bigger than planets or how small the sun is compared to other known stars.

Try some DIY space projects!

If you still haven’t had enough space with all these different and cool websites, here’s the funniest thing to try: make something for space yourself! No, you don’t need a NASA-level rocket or funds. There are several DIY space projects that you can build yourself to add a personal touch to the great afterlife.

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