Here are some resources that you might find useful:

Check the weather before going out observing:

Our Weather Page leads to a compilation of forecasts from the Clear Sky Chart extending forward for 3 days. The CSC is amazingly accurate, often predicting clearings as short as an hour and localized to within a few miles. It provides forecasts for cloud cover, seeing, transparency, wind, smoke, darkness, temperature, and humidity. We have charts for Eugene and several of our most-used observing sites. Clicking on any of the charts on our weather page will take you to the interactive chart where you can click on a particular hour's forecast box and get a map showing conditions across the western half of the U.S. and the Pacific Ocean.

Zoom Earth provides you with a satellite photo of cloud cover. You can also get wind speed and direction and you can run an animation of the last 24 hours of cloud movement to help you get an idea of what's coming.

The NOAA GOES site also provides cloud and weather satellite images and animations.

Weatherstreet will give you a map showing the jet stream. When it's overhead, seeing is likely to be poor.

Astrospheric is an excellent tool that compliments, and sometimes has more accurate predictions than the Clear Sky Charts above, including a cloud prediction image for each hour.

AccuWeather provides a more conventional forecast.

Firesmoke Canada provides tracking for smoke plumes from wildfires, often a factor in deciding where (or even if) to go observing in summer months.

Here's a more Oregon Specific Fire Map.

And here's an even more specific one for the Prairie Peak webcam in the Coast Range, useful for seeing what the cloud/fog conditions are before making the drive out that way.

Check the weather out there: provides information about what's going on in space. It shows a real-time image of the Sun with sunspots labeled. It provides aurora alerts, and alerts to other astrononomical phenomena of interest to amateur astronomers. There's also an amazing photo gallery of astrophotographs from people all over the world. If something interesting is happening out there in the cosmos, Spaceweather probably has an alert and photos of it.

SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) also provides real-time photos of the Sun, but in more than one wavelength.  Click here for a Normal View, or here for a Hydrogen Alpha View showing prominences, filaments, faculae, and other features visible in dedicated H-alpha telescopes.

GONG (the Global Oscillation Network Group) also provides solar images from several different observatories. Sometimes GONG will reveal prominences or other features that SOHO doesn't.

Check for interesting stuff to observe:

Heavens Above is a great website for finding the current location of the planets, comets, asteroids, even satellites. It will tell you when the International Space Station is going overhead, or a Starlink train, or if you see a bright satellite you can look it up and figure out what it is. We have set up Heavens Above sites for Eugene (good for any site in the southern Willamette valley), Eagle's Ridge (good for any site between Eugene and Oakridge), and Eureka Ridge (good for any site in the Coast Range).

The Astronomy Picture of the Day is a great site simply for the beautiful astrophotos, but it also serves as inspiration for objects to observe with our own telescopes.

If you're a dues-paying member of the EAS then you're automatically also a member of the Astronomical League. The AL has a great set of observing programs that can help direct your nights out. There are dozens of various programs that focus on nebulae, star clusters, galaxies, carbon stars, double stars, and much more. If you complete an observing program and document your progress you get a certificate and a pin, but it's totally okay to just use the lists for inspiration and not bother with the documentation. Here's the link to the Astronomical League's Observing Program Page.

Earth Sky News has a web page of interesting objects visible each day, and you can subscribe to their newsletter that will arrive each morning to let you know what will be good to look at that night.

The Sky Live also provides day-to-day information on things to observe within the solar system, including what's happening with the Sun, Moon, planets, asteroids, comets, and meteor showers.

Sky & Telescope Magazine's website has an app that displays the position of Jupiter's moons on the current date or any time in the future. Use this app to see which moons are which, and also to note upcoming shadow transits (where you can watch the shadow of a moon cross the face of the planet).

S&T also has an app for Saturn's moons.

SkySafari is a planetarium program that runs on Apple or Android, and displays the night sky to a degree of precision that's downright scary. But in a good way! Many EAS members have practically given up on paper charts and use SkySafari exclusively to navigate the night sky. SkySafari has tons of information about thousands of objects, and can even aim your telescope if it's set up for computerized control. It comes in three versions: Basic, Plus, and Pro. If you're at all serious about observing, get the Pro version. It's probably the single most useful astronomy tool after your telescope.

Stellarium is another great planetarium program. The interface is a bit different, but it's every bit as powerful as SkySafari, and it's free. For a long time Stellarium was only available for computers, but there's now a mobile version (unfortunately not free).

Star Parties:

The Eugene Astronomical Society hosts regular "First Quarter Friday" star parties on the Friday closest to the first quarter Moon. More information on them can be found here.

Once a year we host a dark-sky star party at Dexter State Park. More information on that can be found here.

The Oregon Star Party is a huge get-together held once year in the mid summer in the Ochoco Mountains east of Prineville. Attendance reaches 300-400 people, and telescopes of all kinds abound. This is high desert camping with few amenities, hot by day and cold at night, so be prepared. It's a great multi-night event, though, for people willing to make the trek and rough it for a few days. (They do provide porta-potties and a big tent for daytime events. In past years they've had meals and a shower truck, but those haven't been available in more recent years.)

The Golden State Star Party is another big get-together held in northern California near the town of Adin. GSSP is a bit more upscale, with grass to camp and set up on, catered meals, and a shower truck.

Other resources:

If you're thinking of buying a telescope, the myriad options can be bewildering. And unfortunately there are an awful lot of lousy telescopes out there that are so bad we call them "Hobby Killers." Jerry Oltion has written an article describing what to look for in a telescope and what to avoid. Find it here: Hobby Killers: What Telescopes Not to Buy.

When you do get ready to buy, there's not much locally in the way of astronomy shops. Here are some of the places we've found that sell astronomy gear:

Scopestuff is good for accessories, telescope-building equipment, and general astronomy-related items.

Agena Astro sells a wide variety of telescopes, binoculars, and accessories including telescope-making supplies.

Orion Telescopes is good for high-quality Dobsonian scopes, and others. Note that some of their low-end stuff can be hobby killers, but their mid- to high-end stuff is generally good.

High Point Scientific is good for telescopes and accessories. The same caveat applies here: You can buy a hobby killer, but most of their stuff is high quality.

Astrononomics is also a good site for telescopes and accessories. They also sponsor the Cloudy Nights forum (see below).

Willman-Bell has a great selection of astronomy books.

After you've bought a scope (or borrowed one from our lending library), check out this article from Sky & Telescope magazine on how to get started. This article was written for the 2023 Christmas season, but it has some good timeless advice on getting used to your new telescope.

A website called Astronomy Tools has several neat resources, including a great field-of-view calculator, star charts, cloud forecasts, and a latitude and longitude locator for your observing location.

Time and has a lot of neat resources for time-related information, including a special Sun, Moon, and Space section that will give you rise/set times for pretty much everything, plus Moon phases, meteor showers, etc. It has tons of information about eclipses, too. has a great piece of software called Sky Tools that can help you organize your observing sessions to get the most out of your time out under the stars.

Skyhound's Comet page is great for keeping track of what comets are visible when.

The Cloudy Nights website is a huge forum for discussing everything astronomical, plus it has probably the best classified ad section for used gear anywhere.

Astrobin is a website dedicated to astrophotography. Some of our club members post their photos there, along with others from all over the world.

Club members' astronomy-related websites, blogs, image sites, etc.:

Mel Bartels's website is a treasure trove of information on amateur telescope making. Mel has decades of experience in mirror making, telescope building, testing, and observing, and he shares his knowledge on dozens of pages that detail every aspect of our hobby. Telescope-building pages include calculators for various parameters from simple Newtonian design to mirror making to star testing and more. Plus Mel displays his many different telescope builds that he has come up with over the years. This site is worth many visits.

Jerry Oltion's website has several articles on specific telescope-making projects that he has built over the years, many of which have been featured in Sky & Telescope magazine.

Andy Edelen's blog contains many, many pages detailing his observations of just about every object in the sky. If you're looking for inspiration or for information on an object, including how easy or difficult it might be to observe, check Andy's blog.

Mark Wetzel's Astrobin page displays many of his wonderful astrophotos, along with descriptions of the objects and how he acquired and processed the images.

Jim Pelley's Astrobin page also displays dozens of Jim's excellent astrophotos. See Jim's recommendation for a good book on astrophotography below.

Wes Magyar's Astrobin page. Wes is a long-haul truck driver, so he takes astrophotos from just about anywhere, using an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he borrowed from the club's lending library and later bought from us. Wes also sells prints of his photos, available here.

Bill Basham's YouTube channel has some incredible time lapse videos of the night sky, clouds filling valleys below and flowing like water, sunrises and sunsets, meteor showers, even star parties. He was known as Dr. Lapser because he was an M.D. who loved to take time-lapse videos. Bill died in 2021, but his videos live on. Check them out; they're truly amazing.

Robert Asumendi sells courses that show you how to build your own stargazing binoculars as Analog Sky.


Astronomy can seem bewildering at first, with thousands of objects to observe, hundreds of telescope models to choose from, and an Internet full of experts who aren't. Here are some books that EAS members recommend to help sort through the haystack to find the shiny needles. Many of the links below go to Amazon for a new edition, but you can also find perfectly serviceable used ones on used book sites like Abe Books.

The Stars: A New Way to See Them, by H. A. Rey. (Yes, the author of Curious George.) This is an oldie, but it's still the perfect beginner's guide to the night sky. Rey draws the constellations in unique ways that make them more recognizable than the classic versions, and he provides tons of information about the solar system and beyond. This book was endorsed by none other than Albert Einstein.

365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo. This is also a great book for learning the constellations. It contains one short article per night with fun, whimsical drawings, sky lore, and basic concepts of astronomy. Highly recommend for beginners.

Turn Left at Orion. by Guy Consolmagno and Dan Davis. This is one of the most popular astronomy books of all time. It's a guidebook to the night sky, providing all the information you need to observe hundreds of celestial objects.

A Guide to Skywatching, by David Levy. This is an excellent beginner's guide, showing just a few of the major objects in each of the sky's 88 constellations. There are also sections on each of the planets, the Sun, and the Moon, plus advice on telescopes and amateur astronomy in general. Our own Jerry Oltion particularly recommends this one; it's what started him on his way into astronomy.

Celestial Sampler and Deep-Sky Wonders by Sue French. For many years, French wrote a column in Sky and Telescope about observing with small telescopes. These books collect 60 of her columns (Sampler) and 100 more (Wonders), arranged by season. There are finder charts, coordinates, observing notes and beautiful photos. For the intermediate observer looking for somewhere to point their telescope, this is a great book. Everything in it is observable with a 3 inch refractor (and reasonably dark sky). Looking for a gift for your budding astronomer? This is it.

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas is by far the most popular set of star charts in existence. Spiral bound so it's easy to use in the field, the maps are easy to read by red or amber flashlight and they chart just enough stars (down to 7.6 magnitude) to let you star-hop to any target you choose without becoming overwhelmed with detail. This atlas comes in a digest-sized version that's convenient to hold in one hand, or a Jumbo version (affectionately called the "Jumbo Shrimp") that's easier on weary eyes.

The Deep Sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken. If you become hooked on astrophotography, this is the one must-have handbook. Jim Pelley says “My copy has become thumbed, dog-eared, and tabbed on multiple pages, and it doesn't spend much time on the bookshelf.”