CfA Resources for Amateur Astronomers
Welcome to CfA's resource page where a wide variety of information is
available to all who love astronomy and
The Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is a NASA-funded project which maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than 5.3 million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and arXiv e-prints. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, which are searchable through our Abstract Service query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature which can be browsed though our Browse interface. Integrated in its databases, the ADS provides access and pointers to a wealth of external resources, including electronic articles, data catalogs and archives. We currently have links to over 5.5 million records maintained by our collaborators.
- Chandra X-ray Center: Public Information & Education
In addition to the science results and images from the Chandra
Observatory (NASA's flagship for X-ray astronomy) released by the
Chandra X-ray Center (operated for NASA by SAO), other resources offered
by the Chandra website include the "Chandra Chronicles," a variety of
web-based and printed educational and outreach materials, and the
opportunity to "Ask an Astrophysicist."
- MicroObservatory Online Telescopes
Designed to provide students and teachers nationwide
the tools to investigate the deep sky from the classroom, this
NSF-sponsored project, with in-kind contributions from Eastman Kodak
Company and Apple Computer, endeavors to create a "virtual community."
- Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston
Among the oldest astronomy clubs in the country, the nearly year-round meetings of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) are held on CfA grounds and are open to all with an interest in astronomy as a hobby. Established at Harvard College Observatory in 1934, the group is devoted to telescope making, observing, and studying the heavens and to promoting participation in amateur observational astronomy.
- Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the official worldwide clearinghouse for new discoveries of comets, solar-system satellites, novae, supernovae, and other transient astronomical events. Under the auspices of Commission 6 of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), CBAT disseminates this information in both print or electronic form via subscription.
- Minor Planet Center
The Minor Planet Center (MPC)-also located in Cambridge, Massachusetts-falls under the auspices of Division III of the International Astronomical Union. The MPC is responsible for the designation of minor planets, comets, and natural satellites in the solar system as well as for the efficient collection, computation, checking, and dissemination of astrometric observations and orbits for minor planets and comets.
- The New England Light Pollution Advisory Group
Founded by volunteers in 1993, the New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG) seeks to educate the public regarding the use-and benefits-of efficient, glare-free outdoor night lighting and to provide resources to city/town officials, utility companies, and citizenry interested in outdoor lighting issues.
- International Dark-Sky Association
Since its formation in 1988, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has worked to stop the adverse effects of light pollution on dark skies. A variety of impact issues resulting from the harmful effects of light pollution-on wild life and ecology, energy conservation, and health, to name a few-are addressed on local, national, and international levels in an effort to raise awareness and educate others about benefits of quality nighttime lighting.
- Events for the Public
The public is invited to attend CfA's Observatory Nights―at 7:30 pm
on the third Thursday of every month―held in Phillips Auditorium, at
the CfA, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, at which a member of scientific
staff will present an educational lecture, followed by telescopic
observing, if weather permits.
- The Visitors Center at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
Open to the public on weekdays, the Visitors Center at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) features
displays and exhibits on astronomy and astrophysics, natural science,
and cultural history. In addition, "star parties," offering lectures and
telescopic viewing, are held quarterly for the public; reserved-seat bus
tours for visitors are conducted three times a week from early spring to
late fall; and the "Astronomy Vista" provides amateur astronomers (and
their telescopes) a special observing site at 1524 meters (5000 feet).