Michael Bowen's VC Course Pages
Please email the author of this page if you find an interesting site that you think should be added to the list.
Astronomy and Space Science
- Abrams Planetarium Skywatcher's Diary (Michigan State University):
- This page, updated at least monthly, will tell you in advance of major and minor celestial events, including phases of the moon, meteor showers, planetary alignments, eclipses, and so on.
- Sky at a Glance (Sky & Telescope Magazine):
- This page, updated at least weekly, also lists celestial events, and often provides links to additional pages that provide the scientific details behind the sights.
- Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Michigan Technical University):
- This page contains a list of links to all Astronomy Pictures of the Day. Once you arrive there, click on the link for today's date to view a photograph or diagram of topical interest that is related to astronomy, or browse through the archive to check out some of the best astrophotography you'll see on the Web. This page is updated daily. The main NASA server occasionally crashes; if so, check the Russia or Taiwan mirror sites.
- GOES Project Science (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center):
- View current (within the last three hours) satellite images of the earth, taken from geosynchronous orbit.
- Welcome to the Planets (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory):
- This site offers great, freely downloadable (GIF and/or JPG format) images of the planets and moons of the solar system, taken from spacecraft and telescope observations. (Note: Recently, this site was inoperable, although its IP number is still registered. Enter the phrase "welcome to the planets" (include the quotes) into a search engine to find mirror sites.)
- Heavens Above (German Space Operations Center):
This site, which was recently upgraded and renamed, predicts the expected time, location, and brightness of various earth-orbiting satellites and other space objects, including solar reflections from so-called Iridium communications satellites.
These reflections can be as bright as magnitude -8, or about 40 times brighter than Venus, but they last only a few seconds!
Other pages on the site predict the appearances of objects such as the International Space Station, the space shuttle, etc.
To use this site successfully, you must know your latitude and longitude, preferably to within ± 0.01°.
Approximate coordinates (latitude, longitude) of selected locations in Ventura County are given below:
Camarillo (Hwy 101 & Hwy 34): (+34.22°, −119.03°)
Fillmore (Hwy 126 & Hwy 23): (+34.40°, −118.92°)
Moorpark College (Observatory): (+34.30°, −118.83°)
Mt. Pinos Parking Lot: (+34.81°, −119.13°)
Ojai (Libbey Park): (+34.45°, −119.25°)
Oxnard College: (+34.16°, −119.16°)
Oxnard (Vineyard & Hwy 1): (+34.23°, −119.18°)
Santa Paula (Hwy 126 & Hwy 150): (+34.35°, −119.06°)
Saticoy (Wells Rd & Hwy 126): (+34.29°, −119.16°)
Simi Valley (Tapo Cyn Rd & Hwy 118): (+34.28°, −118.72°)
Thousand Oaks (Hwy 101 & Hwy 23): (+34.18°, −118.86°)
Ventura College: (+34.28°, −119.23°).
Geology and Earth Science
- Southern California Earthquake Data Center:
- Earthquake information; get the latest maps and information about seismic activity in California and elsewhere. Also view photos (scroll to links) of ground surface ruptures resulting from the magnitude-7.1 Hector Mine earthquake of 16 October 1999.
- Earthquake Information (Caltech Seismology Laboratory):
- This page provides links to current earthquake information (southern California and worldwide) and educational resources.
- UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory:
- More earthquake information.
- NIST Physical Reference Data (National Institute of Standards and Technology):
- This page links to information describing the official definitions or measured values of various physical constants. Includes fundamental physical constants, a table of the SI base units, and an English translation (the original is in French) of the official publication that defines the full SI system, including derived units and prefixes.
- The Physics Applet Collection (University of Oregon Department of Physics):
- This page lists a number of interactive virtual physics demonstrations on a variety of topics. Your web browser must be Java-enabled (JDK 1.1) to successfully run the applets.
- Visual Quantum Mechanics/On-Line Interactive Programs (Kansas State University Department of Physics):
- This page lists a number of interactive virtual physics demonstrations on quantum mechanics and optics. On-line programs require Macromedia® Shockwave®.
- Hydrogen Wave Functions (by Dr. Krzysztof Pilch, USC):
- This page depicts images of the electron probability distribution for several nlm states of the hydrogen atom.
- Wave Packet Animations (by Dr. Carlos Stroud, The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester):
- This page lists links to animated images of the electron probability distribution for high-energy states of simple atoms. Animations require a browser configured to display animated GIF files.
- "Electricity" Misconceptions in Textbooks (by William J. Beaty, no institutional affiliation):
- This page links to a series of articles that gives a pretty good description of what basic electricity is all about. The author is highly opinionated but readable. As advertised in the title, it will expand on what you can find in most textbooks.