Astronomy June 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.
see aurorae in beautiful norway

The Starmus Festival, which occurs in Trondheim this June, isn’t the only astronomical splash happening in Norway this year. From October 10–22, Astronomy magazine, along with our tour partner, TravelQuest International, will lead a spectacular trip to see the northern lights over this majestic and captivating country. If you haven’t seen an auroral display from Norway, you’ve missed out on one of nature’s grandest shows. In the Northern Hemisphere, the auroral oval — the region where the northern lights light up brightly — lies straight overhead as seen from Norway. In addition to aurora watching, Astronomy’s Norway: Aurora, Culture, and Scenic Wonders Tour will showcase many amazing places scattered throughout the country, including a rail journey from Oslo to Flåm and Voss through some of Norway’s most picturesque landscapes. The trip also…

2 min.
snapshot the amazing william herschel

HOT BYTES ≫ TRENDING TO THE TOP EUROPA LANDER A team of researchers wrote a hypothetical report for a Europa lander to test for life within the ocean on Jupiter’s watery moon. 2020 LANDING Landing sites for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover are narrowed down to Northeast Syrtis Major, Jezero Crater, and Gusev Crater. BLASTOFF The Trump administration is reportedly mulling putting astronauts on the first flight of the Orion capsule and Space Launch System. William Herschel was an extraordinary thinker. Born in Hanover, Germany, in 1738 and trained in music, Herschel was a renaissance man, skilled with the oboe, violin, harpsichord, and organ. He was also drawn to the sciences. After immigrating to Great Britain at age 19, he eventually settled in Bath, England, and explored the heavens with homebuilt reflecting telescopes, aided by his sister Caroline Herschel. In…

3 min.
astro letters

A misleading title I teach Earth science and I’ve used Astronomy magazine as a teaching tool for more than 35 years. Thank you for helping me teach and inspire generations of students! I was excited to read “Explore the impact that killed the dinosaurs” in the December issue (p. 26). As a middle school teacher, it’s hard to beat an idea that so elegantly links many scientific disciplines together with such clear and compelling evidence, especially when it involves dinosaurs and a giant explosion that ended their world. The Alvarez hypothesis illustrates the awe and wonder of the scientific method to the minds of 12-year-old students like nothing else. I was a bit disappointed to find the article was more about a journalist’s travel itinerary for a photo-op assignment than it was about…

4 min.
perfect totality

In January, I talked about the August 21 total solar eclipse even though it was a half year in the future. I’m glad I did. Several readers wrote to say the article had persuaded them to spend the money and travel to see it. I felt honored. So now, though the eclipse is still in the future, let’s talk about a bottom- line basic: What should you look for? I just re-read James Fenimore Cooper’s beautiful short story, “The Eclipse.” It’s worth getting hold of, though it’s just 15 pages long. (One option: It’s part of a collection of space-based short stories called The Saturn Above It.) Cooper, a popular 19thcentury author, is famous for The Last of the Mohicans. In this wonderful account written in his 40s, he recalls the total…

4 min.
the brightest, most distant pulsar

Ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are bright sources of X-rays that aren’t associated with a galaxy’s central supermassive black hole. Such sources historically have been explained as black holes of 80 to 100,000 solar masses accreting at high rates. Now, one famous ULX has been identified not as a black hole, but as a neutron star less than 1.5 times the mass of our Sun. Gian Luca Israel of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics and his colleagues used the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMMNewton) and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) space telescopes to explore the inner workings of ULX-1 in the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 5907, located 40 million light-years away. Their findings were published in the February issue of Science. Israel and his team found periodic variations in ULX-1’s X-rays, identifying it…

4 min.
seven planets packed in like jupiter’s moons

TRAPPIST-1 has a solar system like no other. The tiny red dwarf is barely big enough to be considered a star, and its radius is just a hair larger than Jupiter. The initial discovery of the system last May seemed groundbreaking: three planets, all habitable. But now comes even more groundbreaking news: Evidence from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope revealed the system actually has seven planets. Michaël Gillon, a professor at the University of Liége, and his colleagues published the results of their intensive study February 23 in Nature. The initial discovery of TRAPPIST-1 and its planets was somewhat in error. While planets TRAPPIST-1b and TRAPPIST-1c were easily confirmed, TRAPPIST-1d was not — because it was actually three different planets. Two transits were witnessed during the first observing campaign, both believed to be the…