About In-The-Sky.org

In-The-Sky.org was founded by Dominic Ford in 2012 as on online repository of information about what's visible in the night sky, automatically tailored to any geographic location on Earth.

Depending where you live and what time you plan to observe, you'll see different astronomical objects. In-The-Sky.org aims to serve you with fully customised information about what you'll be able to see.

How it works

Most of the predictions on this website are derived from the DE405 ephemeris produced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, used by NASA to guide their space missions. This ephemeris lists of the positions of each of the planets in space over the period 1600–2200 AD, typically with an accuracy of a few kilometers.

Most of the events listed on In-The-Sky.org are generated by an automated computational search DE405 for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers. The descriptions of each event is automatically generated for each visitor, based either on a guess of that visitor's location (using geolocation of their IP address), or a location set manually here.

The positions of asteroids are calculated from orbital elements published by Ted Bowell of the Lowell Observatory. Similar data from comets is taken from the Minor Planet Center (MPC). Comet magnitudes are calculated on the basis of observations sent into the BAA Comet Section, as compiled by Jonathan Shanklin. The positions and brightnesses of deep sky objects are taken from the NGC2000.0 catalogue.

Dominic Ford

Dominic Ford

Dominic Ford is a freelance science communicator based in Cambridge, UK. Much of the science behind how In-The-Sky.org does its calculations is described in his book, The Observer's Guide to Planetary Motion, published by Springer.

Among Dominic's other projects, he is the lead developer of Cambridge Science Centre's Meteor Pi project, which offers school children the opportunity to observe and analyse meteors using CCTV cameras connected to Raspberry Pi computers.

He is also the lead developer of Pyxplot, a Linux graphing and vector graphics package which is available in the Ubuntu package archive, and GrepNova, an automated image-comparison tool for supernova hunters, which has assisted in the discovery of over 50 events to date.

He also maintains the website of the British Astronomical Association.

He previously produced the monthly Naked Astronomy podcast for the Naked Scientists, and spent time as a science advisor and producer in the newsroom of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

He did his PhD in the Astrophysics Group of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, studying star formation within heavily obscured dusty nebulae.

He went on to work on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) from 2007–2012, developing numerical algorithms for high-performance parallel computing.

All of the information and diagrams on this website are © Dominic Ford. However, they are provided for the benefit of amateur astronomers worldwide, and you are welcome to modify and/or redistribute any of the material on this website, under the following conditions: (1) Any item that has an associated copyright text must include that unmodified text in your redistributed version, (2) You must credit me, Dominic Ford, as the original author and copyright holder, (3) You may not derive any profit from your reproduction of material on this website, unless you are a registered charity whose express aim is the advancement of astronomical science, or you have the written permission of the author.

Contact details

You can email me at root@127.0.0.1.

Ashburn

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