Here are some of my favorite web sites that I recommend for beginners. The online observing information gets you going with sky maps and planning tools. I emphasize the tools with printable charts (not to waste paper!) because then your print only what you need and it's easy to read under red light in the field. I use these charts as my ad-hoc logging form.

Online Observing Information and Sky Maps -

Sky View Café - My favorite Java app on the web; Sky Chart, Moons of Jupiter & Saturn and more; printable
Skymaps - Free downloadable monthly maps with calendar; printable
Sky & Telescope's Sky Tonight - Another Java tool for observation planning; makes nice PDF file
Heavens Above - Great tool for tracking the ISS and other man made objects; printable sky chart

Astronomy Weather -

Fernbank Clear Sky Clock - Atlanta area clear sky clock, an essential tool; pick your own site from over 4000 locations
Space Weather - Solar astronomy updates, aurora alerts and more
Weather Underground Astronomy - Sky chart, solar & lunar details & almanac (the link is for Eastern US but you can change to your own location)

Astronomy Web Sites -

Fernbank Science Center - Planetarium and observatory run by Dekalb County Schools in Atlanta
Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) - Like it says. Make sure to check daily
International Year of Astronomy 2009 - Archive of 2009 activities plus more current activity "Beyond IYA 2009"
US International Year of Astronomy 2009 - The US site for IYA 2009
NASA’s International Year of Astronomy - NASA's contribution to IYA 2009
Night Sky Network - Joint site from NASA and ASP with very good educational resources

Space Web Sites -

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA's JPL - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Education - NASA's special education site
Hubble Space Telescope - The best eyes in the sky!
Space.Com -Great source for space news

Wikipedia Web Links -

Astronomy Portal - great starting page for all things Astronomy
Constellations - great reference to all 88 Constellations, including star maps

updated on Aug 19, 2012