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Object Visibility

Staralt is a program that shows the observability of objects in various ways: either you can plot altitude against time for a particular night (Staralt), or plot the path of your objects across the sky for a particular night (Startrack), or plot how altitude changes over a year (Starobs), or get a table with the best observing date for each object (Starmult). For further information, click on the "help" button at the bottom of the page.

Coordinates (copy and paste) Battle 50.92 +0.48 Bexhill 50.83 +0.48 Hastings 50.85 +0.60

Object use formant of RA and dec i.e. hh mm ss.s (+/-)dd mm ss.s (note the spaces between each group of digits). Note that you can enter more than one object and you can display the Moon's position through the night


Finder Charts

This service provides online access to digitised optical Schmidt plates from the STScI Digitised Sky Surveys DSS and DSS-II. The Digitized Sky Surveys were produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166. The images of these surveys are based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope on Palomar Mountain and the UK Schmidt Telescope. The plates were processed into the present compressed digital form with the permission of these institutions. The data is produced by the University of Leicester ~ LEDAS



Access to Simbad, VizieR, Aladin, catalogues etc. Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg



The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia is a working tool providing all the latest detections and data announced by professional astronomers, useful to facilitate progress in exoplanetology. The encyclopedia, started in 1995, is updated daily by Jean Schneider from the Paris Observatory ~ Encyclopedia

A useful resource on lightcurve measurement is from amateur Bruce Gary "Exoplanet Observing for Amateurs"Also try his tutorial at  


Variable Stars and Eclipsing Binaries

 The American Association of Variable Star Observers ( provides a good general resource on varinble stars and their measurement

Two very useful variable star databases are the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS)  and the Krakow Atlas of Variable Stars   

A very useful introduction to variable star measurement is the BAA publication "Measuring Variable Stars Using a CCD Camera" priced at £7.50.

If you are interested in photometry from DSLR images the publication "Variable star photometry with a DSLR camera" published by the BAA. J.Br.Astron. Assoc.120,3,2010

Krakow has produced a manual for visual observing variable stars.  Visit ...

Contact binary stars have been the centre of research for many years.  Here Dr Robert Smith reviews the theories..."The Theory of Contact Binaries"

An explanation for the orbital period modulation, the Applegate effect, is presented by James H Applegate "A Mechanism for Orbital Period Modulation in Close Binaries"

"A Method for Computing Accurately the Epoch of Minimum of an Eclipsing Variables" ~ K K Kwee etal .  This paper provides the theory behind many alogrithms for computing the time of minima from a time series data set. 



Instructions on building a High Resolution Spectrograph by Simon Quellen Field


The Local Group