Astronomy August 2017

The world's best-selling astronomy magazine offers you the most exciting, visually stunning, and timely coverage of the heavens above. Each monthly issue includes expert science reporting, vivid color photography, complete sky coverage, spot-on observing tips, informative telescope reviews, and much more! All this in a user-friendly style that's perfect for astronomers at any level.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
join me in costa rica

Beyond this month’s exciting solar eclipse, billions of other objects in the sky will be visible for countless ages to come. And as an old friend, Bart Bok (1906–1983), used to say, “All the good stuff’s in the southern sky.” This was a little bit of an exaggeration, which Bart said with a twinkle in his eye, but the man who defined our Milky Way Galaxy was pretty well right. The Southern Hemisphere sky is loaded with numerous bright deep-sky objects that would be familiar to all of us if more than about 12 percent of humanity lived under it. To observe many of the southern sky’s greatest treasures, I invite you to join me for a spectacular trip to Costa Rica next spring. In conjunction with our tour partner, TravelQuest and…

2 min.
qg quantum gravity

HOT BYTES >> TRENDING TO THE TOP SWIFT ACTION An algorithm called PACMan could sort through over 1,000 Hubble Space Telescope proposals submitted for review annually. CHILLY WEATHER Jupiter’s magnetic field caused the planet to develop a Great Cold Spot with temperatures 360° F (200° C) below its surroundings. PROPER CREDIT Texas State University researchers determined that Charles Messier was the first to observe the Ring Nebula, recorded in his catalog as M57. SNAPSHOT Whatever you do, just look An old maxim in astronomy: “Every eclipse lasts 8 seconds.” On August 21, millions of people will see the total eclipse of the Sun. Cutting a swath across the United States from the Oregon coast to the shores of Charleston Harbor, the eclipse stands to be the most viewed in history. People will swarm to the center line, each eager to witness…

3 min.
astro letters

A word of eclipse caution After reading Michael Bakich’s story on choosing an eclipse camera in the April issue, I was surprised the author devoted not a single word of caution to filtration to prevent eye and camera damage. He speaks of cameras and lenses, but depending on the focal length of the unfiltered lens, the effect of heat and light when the camera is trained on the Sun at any phase — other than a handful of seconds on either side of totality, along with totality itself — can be devastating and swift. Experienced eclipse shooters know this, but Bakich should have added a sentence or two in the interest of safety for the novice and first-time shutterbugs he addresses in his article. — Jim Keenan, Vista, CA A stellar mirage I am a…

4 min.
eclipse chasing

Let’s talk about future total solar eclipses. It’s for newbies as well as the fanatics. After this month’s coast-to-coast event, the addicted group may well number in the millions. Some eclipse chasers — those who seek out the thrill of an eclipse over and over, including literally following the Sun on its path during a single event — are so hooked, they rarely miss a totality and crisscross the globe. When planning such trips, cost and convenience figure prominently. But weather may top the list of basic concerns: A friend went to seven eclipses, but was clouded out of four. Choices are limited. There’s only a single total solar eclipse each year, and every three to four years, there are none. Upcoming zero years are 2018, 2022, 2025, and 2029. An eclipse happens…

1 min.
prospects for life on enceladus

Vents on Earth’s seafloor provide one of the most extreme environments where life manages to thrive despite high temperatures. Now it seems that Saturn’s moon Enceladus may have similar hydrothermal vents. In a paper published April 13 in Science, NASA researchers said they found traces of hydrogen associated with such vents spewing out of Enceladus’ geysers. “Enceladus is too small to have retained the hydrogen from when it formed, so the hydrogen we see today is coming from inside Enceladus,” Linda Spilker, project scientist on the Cassini mission, said in a press conference. Cassini researchers were taken by surprise when they discovered geysers of water erupting from Enceladus’ south pole in 2005. Subsequent investigations built a picture of their origin: liquid water under the surface of the tiny moon, which led to…

2 min.
cassini shows earth and moon from saturn

FOND FAREWELL. On April 12, Cassini took one last glance toward Earth and the Moon through Saturn’s rings, capturing this image. The Cassini probe has been exploring Saturn’s system of 62 moons since 2004, taking a few shots of Earth along the way. The mission will end in September when the probe plummets into Saturn’s atmosphere. — Nicole Kiefert 11 The number of intriguing radio signals the massive SETI project Breakthrough Listen is following up on after its initial listening campaign. BRIEFCASE LANDSLIDE BRINGS CERES DOWN A study published in Nature Geoscience identified three different types of landslides on Ceres. Type I landslides are round, large, and occur at higher latitudes, which is where researchers believe most of Ceres’ ice is located. Type II are most common and occur at middle latitudes. These landslides…