The internet has transformed the way we live and research our interests. There’s no doubt that astronomy has changed drastically over the last few decades too. Here’s some useful tools and links that you might find useful – these are simply the author’s particular favorites and don’t represent any official recommendation or anything like that.
Identity Cloaker – a privacy tool which encrypts and hides your internet connection. Useful for checking secure and confidential sites when perhaps using some insecure or un-trusted Wifi access point in a hotel or airport for example.
Best VPN – region locking by popular websites is common now. This is the practice of restricting access to a site based on the location identified by your IP address. Fortunately using a VPN you can control this behaviour and bypass these blocks that even sites like the BBC iPlayer are using – read more.
Watch BBC News Live – there are of course news channels all over the internet. But get this – an international news station which is completely impartial and doesn’t break every few minutes for some stupid adverts. This my friend is the BBC and you can in fact watch it anywhere in the world. Ok so it’s fairly UK biased but there are international news sections also at specific times, a vote here for a public funded state broadcaster.
NASA Earth Observatory The wonderful observatory site from NASA, including satellite images from all over the planet. Astronomers and scientists will find it utterly fascinating.
Anonymous Torrents – for lovers of sci-fi movies and science documentaries, the world of torrents offers the chance for anyone to download. However you should always protect your identity when downloading these files. Most of the VPN services discourage using torrent clients but the one in this article actively promotes the facilities.
Remote Online Telescopes – A selection of telescopes which are available online through a Harvard based project. Simple to use and you get your pictures emailed directly, you can even choose focal lengths and exposure settings depending on which telescope you choose.
Netflix VPN Ban – to get the most of your Netflix subscription, you need to be based in the US. There is so much more on offer on the US site than some of the other locales. Unfortunately Netflix have restricted the use of VPNs to access their site, but here’s one that still works.