Astronomy April 2019

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.
chatting with apollo astronauts

We’re now in the middle of the exciting 50th anniversary period of the Apollo Moon missions. This will last until December 2022, when we celebrate Apollo 17. Since that mission, humans have not been back to the surface of our nearest celestial neighbor. Over the past few months, I’ve chatted with a number of Apollo astronauts. I’ve been struck by their candor, their sharp recollections, and their amazing stories, many of which I had not heard previously, despite the vast literature on the Apollo era. Jim Lovell described how he felt about the possibility of being stranded in space during Apollo 13. Mike Collins related his unique feeling of concern as he orbited over colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, hoping they would be OK during the first-ever moonwalk. Charlie Duke talked…

2 min.
astro letters

Exploration overshadowed I’m embarrassed to say that I knew nothing about the BepiColombo mission until reading your magazine. I haven’t been keeping up with science news as I once did, and it’s a shame. The lack of news coverage about this incredible Mercury adventure says so much about our culture, and it’s not positive. The mission to Mercury is one of the greatest exploration feats of human history, yet the media ignores it, and instead covers news of much less importance. I viewed the BepiColombo launch online, and it was spectacular. I’m a senior citizen and recall exactly where I was when Sputnik shocked the world. Back then, everyone was fascinated by space exploration, yet sadly all we’re fed these days is junk about celebrities, politics, and related trivia. Your timeline for…

1 min.
impact on the moon

January’s total lunar eclipse put on a show as Earth’s shadow crossed the Full Moon’s face. And during the event, something unusual happened. Astroimager Jamie Cooper captured this image of an impact on the Moon from West Sussex, England, at 03:41 UT. Such events were theory only two generations ago, but now are fact and somewhat common-place to the discerning observer. This impact could have been seen through binoculars or a telescope by an observer looking at the right moment. HOT BYTES TRENDING TO THE TOP LIMITED LIFE SPAN A new study has confirmed previous Voyager findings: Saturn’s gravity will destroy its rings in less than 100 million years. WATER RICH Water’s signature has been found in minerals on numerous asteroids, bolstering the theory that such bodies could have delivered water to Earth. UNTOUCHED RELIC Astronomers have identified…

2 min.
insight sets up shop on mars

After enduring almost seven months of space travel on a carefully calculated 300 million-mile (480 million kilometers) journey from Earth to Mars, NASA’s InSight lander finally touched down on the martian surface November 26, 2018. Equipped with a host of cutting-edge scientific instruments, the lander is expected to gather some of the best data yet on the Red Planet’s interior, composition, and tectonic activity. InSight — which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — entered the martian atmosphere 80 miles (129 km) above the surface. At an altitude of about 7 miles (11 km), the probe deployed its giant parachute to help reduce speed. Less than a minute later, InSight cut its parachute free and fired its 12 retrorockets, providing the craft with the extra braking…

1 min.
earth: the not-so-watery world

JUST A SPLASH. Roughly 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, which, at face value, seems like a lot. But did you know that liquid water accounts for only about 0.12 percent of Earth’s total volume? Our planet, which we often think of as a water world, is actually pretty desiccated. However, many other worlds in the solar system are figuratively drowning in water, making them intriguing targets for future exploration and study. FAST FACT Ice accounts for less than 2 percent of Earth’s total water. But on Enceladus, ice accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s total water. ASTRONOMY: ROEN KELLY AFTER STEVEN VANCE/NASA-JPL; DAVE MOSHER/INSIDER; NOAA…

2 min.
could a supernova explain an ancient mass extinction?

About 2.6 million years ago, an exploding star lit up Earth’s sky as a supernova. A few hundred years later, its cosmic rays reached Earth and may have caused a mass extinction, according to a study published November 27 in Astrobiology. The extinction, which occurred at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, killed about 36 percent of the genera in coastal waters, including Earth’s largest known shark, the megalodon. The event’s cause is unknown, but radiation from a supernova is a possible culprit. Such radiation would be composed of fast-moving muons, which are a few hundred times the mass of an electron, according to lead author Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas. “They’re very penetrating. Even normally, there are lots of them passing through us. Nearly all of them pass through harmlessly,” he said…