The Local Group

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Sun, Moon, Planets Comets and Meteors

Rise, set and twilight times for Eastbourne (local time) ~ Sun

Rise, set and twilight times for Eastbourne (local time) ~ Moon

Where is the next solar eclipse? ~ World Map 2001 to 2020 and Detail 1901 to 2100 

SOHO, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, is a project of international collaboration between ESA and NASA to study the Sun from its deep core to the outer corona and the solar wind.  SOHO was launched on December 2, 1995. The SOHO spacecraft was built in Europe by an industry team led by prime contractor Matra Marconi Space (now EADS Astrium) under overall management by ESA.

Visit the SOHO website at

The position of Jupiter's Galilean moons ~ Jupiter's Moons

The position of Saturn's moons Dione, Enceledus, Rhea, Tethys and Titan ~ Saturn's moons


The Cometary Science Laboratory (CSL) and Archive -- called the Cometary Science Center (CSC) when formed during 2008-2009 at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and renamed the CSL when moved to Harvard in 2010 -- is being developed as a central archive and website for all things regarding comets. The goal is to eventually have a separate webpage devoted to every comet observed in history, with the project design being to work back from the present into the past....

Comets are a typical target for amateur astronomers. Scientific observations span from basic visual techniques (drawing and total magnitude estimates) to imaging and CCD techniques, the latter devoted in particular to astrometry and photometry.  The CARA website (CARA stands for Cometary ARchive for Afrho (previously named  Cometary Archive Amateur Astronomers)).  The CARA project was born as a consortium of amateur astronomers suported by some professional specialists.

The automated professional programs LINEAR, NEAT, CSS, LONEOS, Spacewatch (North Hemisphere) and Siding Spring (South Hemisphere), are responsible for the the majority of comet findings in recent years, besides the carried out ones found on the images of the SOHO spacecraft.  But there are still opportunities for amateur astronomers to find comets, searching visual or with the help of digital cameras (CCD or DSLR).  This website gives many of the amateur discoveries dince 2003...

Meteor Showers. Calendars for meteor showers can be found midway down the page. ~ Meteor Shower Calendar

Group Visual Meteor Observing Notes... Visual observing of meteors (1), Visual Observing of Meteors (2), Meteor Observing Chart


Minor Planets

The Minor Planet Center (MPC) is a useful source of information on asteroids, minor planets, near Earth objects etc.  It operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), under the auspices of Division III of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

The MPC is responsible for the designation of minor bodies in the solar system: minor planets; comets, in conjunction with the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT); and natural satellites (also in conjunction with CBAT). The MPC is also responsible for the efficient collection, computation, checking and dissemination of astrometric observations and orbits for minor planets and comets.


The Sun's Neighborhood

The purpose of RECONS is to understand the nature of the Sun's nearest stellar neighbors, both individually and as a population. Our primary goals are to discover ``missing'' members of the stellar sample within 10 parsecs (32.6 light years), and to characterize all stars and their environments within that distance limit. New members are found via astrometric, photometric, and spectroscopic techniques, and through searches for stellar, brown dwarf, and planetary companions at small and large separations. Characterization includes photometry and spectroscopy at both optical and infrared wavelengths, as well as determinations of the luminosity function, mass function, and multiplicity fraction of the nearby stars. RECONS is currently extending survey work to 25 parsecs in an effort to understand the Sun's and Earth's places among a larger population of our neighbors.

The Local Group