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Finding Background Information

Reference works like dictionaries and encyclopedias, some of which are highly specialized, and websites from reliable sources, can be useful for:

  • an overview or background info on a topic
  • definitions
  • biographies of scholars in the field
  • bibliographies or reading lists
  • additional useful words, concepts, keywords and names related to the topic that you can use in your searching.


  • Astronomy Image Explorer
    The AIE provides quick and easy access to hundreds of thousands of images, illustrations, graphs, charts and videos from the Astronomical Journal and the Astrophysical Journal, published by the American Astronomical Society.
  • CalSky
    CalSky provides an calendar of astronomical events, customizable to your location.
  • ESA Portal (European Space Agency)
    News and information from the European Space Agency.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    The NASA website has links to a variety of resources reflecting the operations of the agency and information on major missions in progress.
  • Space Weather Prediction Center
    The branch of the National Weather Service that provides real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events.
  • Universe Today
    Space and astronomy news.