Professional astronomers were among the first to put the Internet to use, back in the days before the World Wide Web and graphical browsers made it easy for anyone to navigate "the Net." Today, astronomy-related sites on the Internet are among the most popular. Selected images from the Galileo spacecraft at Jupiter, the Mars probes, or the Hubble Space Telescope appear first on the Internet. NASA maintains a host of sites rich in images and information.
You can do your telescope shopping on-line. The web sites of equipment manufacturers provide information and advice on the latest models, and allow you to order them direct. You can even download samples of new software.
Using the Internet, amateur astronomers can control tele-scopes halfway around the world, creating digital images that they can then download onto their own computers. Current aurora predictions, the latest pictures of a new comet, this hour's satellite weather map—all this and more are on the Web. There is so much to explore that some amateurs conduct their hobby via the computer screen, neglecting the real sky for the digital universe.