The first URL featured this month is Earth Viewer located at http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/vplanet.html. This site allows the user to customize maps of the Earth as viewed from above any latitude/longitude coordinates through various parameters (sample map below). The maps can contain topographical information, up-to-date weather satellite images, or composite cloud cover image. There is also an Expert Mode for further customizing. In this program, the Earth can be viewed from the Sun, Moon, night-side, and a smattering of satellites including HST. In addition to being able to generate maps at the site, users can download software for Windows and Unix such as Home Planet, an Earth/Space/Sky simulator. There is a link to a set of detailed instructions for new users, so don't be afraid to try it!
The next URL for this month is the Mt. Wilson Observatory's On-line Stargazer Map located at http://www.mtwilson.edu/Services/StarMap/. The site consists of a form filled in by the user which is processed by a FORTRAN program into a PostScript star map. The form requires information such as date, time, and location coordinates. There is a link on the site to the Geographical Name Server from which the coordinates can be obtained. Simply click on the link and enter a zip code. The coordinates will be on line `L' of the output (help is available). Optional parameters include constellations (with magnitude limits), meteor showers, and reference lines. This useful site allows to generate an up-to-date star map for any place in the world by only knowing the zip code. You can view the PostScript map on the Sun console by typing pageview