Astronomy November 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.
whence came the moon?

With all the hubbub over Apollo 11, the first Moon landing, many space fans practically overlook the subsequent Apollo missions. This month we remember the first return to the Moon, Apollo 12, on its 50th anniversary. During Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent about 2½ hours on the Moon’s surface. Subsequent missions afforded far more time to explore, and resulted in more scientific analysis. Apollo 12, with Pete Conrad and Alan Bean on the surface and Dick Gordon orbiting in the command module, allowed for nearly eight hours of lunar exploration. One of the primary tasks of the Apollo astronauts, of course, was to collect and return lunar rock samples. Between 1969 and 1972, the Apollo astronauts brought back 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of lunar rocks of all sorts, collected…

1 min.
astro letters

Space kit memories Your July issue brought back a lot of nostalgia for me — not only from the space race, but from those great space kits of the time, from the Mercury capsule to the Gemini and Apollo crafts. I built them all. — Ray Zalenski, New Haven, CT Returning to the Moon Fifty years ago, humankind visited another world for the first time. On July 20, 1969, millions watched astronaut Neil Armstrong take his first historic step on lunar soil and proudly proclaim, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” For one shining moment, it seemed that humanity took one giant leap into the future. Whatever happened to the American dream of exploring the universe? Human exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond would restore national pride…

1 min.
dive into the galactic center

The Chandra X-ray Observatory launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999. In celebration of the telescope’s 20th anniversary, NASA has released several new images highlighting Chandra’s contributions to astronomy, including this composite of the central regions of our Milky Way Galaxy. X-ray data from Chandra appear in green and blue, showing swaths of gas heated to millions of degrees as well as pointlike neutron stars, white dwarfs, and black holes — including the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, which weighs more than 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Radio emission, gathered by the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa, appears in red. At lower energies than X-rays, radio waves trace warm filaments of gas, which astronomers believe are aligned with the galaxy’s magnetic field. Also visible at…

1 min.
hot bytes

WELL ARMED NASA engineers have installed the Mars 2020 rover’s 7-foot-long (2 meters) robotic arm, as well as the SuperCam Mast Unit instrument package, which will inspect rocks and soil on the Red Planet. TOUCHDOWN On July 11, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu for the second time, collecting samples for return to Earth. UNDER CONSTRUCTION Work on the Thirty Meter Telescope commenced the week of July 15, beginning with the transportation of necessary equipment to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.…

4 min.
astronomers pinpoint single fast radio bursts

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) seem to pop up at random, sending a powerful, milliseconds-long flash of radio energy into space before disappearing. The majority disappear after one flash; only 10 are known to repeat. Astronomers have a few theories about what causes FRBs, including activity around supermassive black holes, powerful supernovae, or explosions on the surface of neutron stars. In 2017, astronomers tracked a repeating FRB, FRB 121102, to its tiny home galaxy 2.5 billion light-years away. Now, two non-repeating FRBs have been traced to their host galaxies. It is the first time non-repeating FRBs have been tracked. A BIG BREAKTHROUGH The first is FRB 180924. A team of astronomers led by Keith Bannister from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) discovered the…

1 min.
quick takes

HARDY FUNGI Researchers reported at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Seattle that two types of mold, Aspergillus and Penicillium, can withstand 200 times the amount of radiation that would kill an astronaut. This suggests the fungi could survive space travel. WEE WORLD NASA’s planet-hunting TESS telescope has uncovered the smallest exoplanet yet found by the mission. Located about 35 light-years away, L 98-59b is between the size of Earth and Mars. ATIRA ASTEROID The recently discovered 2019 LF6 has the shortest “year” of any known asteroid. Part of the Atira class of asteroids, this space rock orbits the Sun in just 151 days. STELLAR ASSEMBLY The first detailed, face-on view of a massive baby star in the process of forming suggests both large and small stars develop in a surprisingly similar fashion. RED WINE PLANET Resveratrol, the compound in…