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How Do I Visit?

By AJG, December 28, 2009

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PROJECT BLOG “Astronomy 2009″ Island no longer exists in Second Life.

To visit ‘Astronomy 2009′ island in Second Life you will need to create a free Second Life avatar and go through a brief orientation process from Linden Labs (parent company).

Before you begin, please download and print out this 7-page PDF file. It’s the Second Life viewer interface in a nutshell and will help you out during your novice phase.

1. CREATE YOUR FREE AVATAR (in-world character)

To create an avatar go to and find the big orange box to JOIN NOW  to create an account. You will create the account on the webpage. Second Life is a program you will download/install/run as a program on your computer.

Follow the directions on the form to create an avatar. Please put in a real email and a real birthday. Should you lose your avatar information, this is used as verification. Additionally, an activation email gets sent to the email you provide. Helpful tip: Write down your avatar’s first name and last name and your password and email it to yourself . Srsly.

You will receive an Activation email. When you receive it and activate, the Second Life website will open and you can choose where to go. Please choose Help Island, this will be your much needed orientation.

If you do not have the free software on your computer, you will be prompted to download and install the software. Please check out the technology limitations and compatibility here: (Note: you can still try to download/install even if your graphics card is not listed. For most people, SL will still work. It might be slow or graphics will be glitchy, but it might still work.)


Download Second Life here if you haven’t already:

You will enter Second Life at Help Island. When you appear you will see a short Tutorial window. Go through the 9 tasks. This is a very basic tutorial.  Using the 7-page PDF printout will help you. Really, it will – go print it out now :)

Help Island

Wander around a bit and find the Freebie Store and freebie area. Grab them now (there are directions) because you can’t go back to Help Island once you leave!  There are also some expanded tutorials to find as well, if you are into tutorials. You can find *some* free clothes and different avatars here if you do not like the choice of default styles.

Once you are done and ready to enter the mainland of Second Life, find the large green rotating sign that says “Enter Second Life” and click the large kiosk. You will be triggering a teleport to an InfoHub. These places can be rowdy, but never fear, you don’t need to stay there.

3. GET YOURSELF TO ‘Astronomy 2009′ ISLAND

If you click this link (called a SLurl) while you are logged into Second Life (software, not website) you will trigger a teleport to the island. So, click the link below…and then go back to your SL window and you will see a map come up with the island and an option to TELEPORT.  Click it and WHOOSH! You’ll end up in the center of our island.

Second method: click the blue Map button at the bottom of the SL viewer. In the Search box type:  Astronomy 2009  and click Search. You’ll see it appear on the map, looks like a nice spiral galaxy (M74 to be precise!)


Default settings only allow your avatar to see about 64m away. Sometimes, it’s nice to see 300m away so you can see everything and can easily see where to go or what you want to explore. Also, the place you are at might be Midnight…and you want daytime!  Settings for the viewer are saved on the computer. So, if you access SL on a different computer you will have to reset these settings.

Control the Sun: Top Menu > World > Environment Settings > choose a level of light

Graphics: Top Menu > Edit > Preferences | Graphics Tab
- click to put a check mark next to Custom
- change Draw Distance by moving the slider. I suggest 300 meters.

Camera/Select Distance: All at once press Ctrl Alt d to see the Advanced Menu (Top Menu, right of Help)
Top Menu > Advanced | UNCHECK “Limit Select Distance”
Top Menu > Advanced | CHECK “Disable Camera Constraints”


On both Help Island and the 7-page Quickstart Guide there are brief directions on customizing your avatar. Also — watch these quick video tutorials for basic avatar appearance, changing clothes, unpacking boxes (like freebies).  FYI — it’s easy to end up with no clothes on. So…go hide behind a tree or building or something just in case of a mis-click!

You need to be logged into the Second Life WEBSITE to view the Knowledge Base/Help articles. First go to and log-in.

Basics: Change/save/create your avatar appearance

Buy clothes

There are many in-world places to buy clothes (see directions on how to add money to your avatar at the Second Life website) or you can browse selections and follow purchasing directions at

Find freebies! Below are a few good freebie places to explore. Click the link and it will trigger a teleport if you are logged into Second Life.


Take a minute and watch these videos  for some tips to make your Second Life easier.

How to open a box (if you have freebies or bought items)

Snapshots (in-world photography)

Have lag? (slow performance) Change your graphics preferences

Voice Chat (using a headphone w/ mic)

Voice Chat (hearing better)

How to move your camera further and better

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