A Trip Down Memory Lane

A SkyEye retrospective…

SkyEye started life in a collection of personal web pages of L.M. Stockman at Queen Mary & Westfield College (now Queen Mary University of London). Since its inception in 1995, it has grown from a simple page describing the wonders of the night sky to a fully-developed astronomy web site with additional information to educate and entertain its visitors. SkyEye soon outgrew its original collegiate host and in 1998, David Harper and L.M. Stockman decided to register their own personal domain. In September of that year, was born and in October, SkyEye made its debut in its new home.

In the following pages, most of the links have been removed since the destination pages have changed, moved or no longer exist.

October 1998
Welcome to SkyEye at Obliquity! These first pages are written in what was then state-of-the-art HTML 3.2. SkyEye consists of the front page which describes the happenings in the heavens for the current month and a number of supporting pages which include sky maps for different times of night (for latitudes 45° north and 30° south), constellation maps, information about the planets, minor planets, meteor showers and eclipses, and lists of interesting stars, star names and deep sky objects. There is also a resources page with links to other astronomy- and space-related web sites. (The world wide web is in its infancy at this time and all-encompassing search engines are still in the future.) The earliest versions of SkyEye also include an ecliptic strip chart which shows the positions of the planets mid-month. This feature vanishes after this year, not to return until 2018.
October 1999
There is no real difference between the SkyEyes of 1998 and 1999 other than the elimination of the chart showing the planets' positions at mid-month. Even the banner image is the same. The supporting pages are updated with new information as necessary.
October 2000
The big addition this year is the inclusion of a glossary of astronomical terms. A link to a moon phase calculator is also added to the main page.
October 2001
This is the last year we use HTML 3.2 to construct the SkyEye web pages.
October 2002
Same banner image and background colour but now the pages are written in the more modern HTML 4.01. The main page of SkyEye also gets a facelift with the inclusion of a calendar of important events and a slight rearrangement of the rest of the information.
October 2003
More cosmetic changes, including a new 'browser safe' background colour, are introduced.
October 2004
The calendar of events continues to evolve and the paragraph for each planet clarifies the planet's position against the background stars over the course of the month.
October 2005
The site is once again refreshed by being rewritten in XHTML 1.0. A new colour scheme and new banner image complete the look.
October 2006
The section describing the planets is redesigned. Pluto doesn't make the cut and only appears in the monthly page when it is at opposition.
October 2007
The calendar is modified slightly to accommodate the fact that the Moon rises and sets at different times in the southern hemisphere than in the north. The layout of the section on the planets is altered slightly. There are also minor changes to the stylesheet which defines the look of the page, including a different banner image.
October 2008
Happy tenth birthday, Obliquity! To celebrate, there is a new banner image and the constellations listed in the planet descriptions become links to the appropriate constellation chart.
October 2009
Beautiful Saturn graces the banner image this year. The only other changes are updated information throughout the SkyEye site.
October 2010
Yet another new banner image and some minor cosmetic changes define 2010 SkyEye.
October 2011
No changes this year beyond another new banner image and keeping all of the information current.
October 2012
A section describing a few highlights from the next month is added below the calendar and the banner image is changed once again.
October 2013
The banner image now changes every month. October is graced by a high-contrast image of the Moon.
October 2014
HTML 5.0 brings a whole new look to SkyEye. A stellar background replaces the banner image and the entire site is redesigned. One casualty, however, is the section describing next month's highlights. Also swept away are all of the old GIFs. These are replaced by superior SVG images. Compare the old Orion with the new Orion!
October 2015
No changes this year beyond keeping all of the information current.
October 2016
No changes this year beyond keeping all of the information current.
October 2017
The calendar gets a makeover to reflect at a glance the amount of moonlight on any given night during the month.
October 2018
Happy twentieth birthday, Obliquity! The mid-month planet positions chart is reinstated for the first time in 20 years. (Compare it with the 1998 version.) The calendar is once again redesigned to aid readability. More sky maps are added to include a wider range of latitudes (now 40° south to 60° north in 10° increments). And a whole new section, Solar System Phenomena, is introduced where each planet has its own page showing where it is and describing what it's doing throughout the year.

Thank you for sharing this little trip back in time with us. SkyEye has come a long way in 20 years. What will the next 20 bring?

Note of Thanks

We are indebted to the Internet Archive for helping us recover a few lost files. Our recreation of old editions of SkyEye is all the more accurate with this assistance.