Astronomy June 2018

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.
your backstage pass is here

As Astronomy approaches its 45th anniversary, we’re not only looking for ways to continuously bring you the best coverage of astronomy in the magazine, but we’re also creating some exciting new products we hope you’ll enjoy. The latest offering results from a trip Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I took to the Chicagoland area earlier this year. We visited four stellar astronomical institutions in and around Chicago, and filmed several hours of amazing stuff. Nothing like this exists in our field, and there are many exciting things to share. And video allows us to describe what’s going on at these places and share the excitement in a unique way. Our new DVD, Astronomy Backstage Pass: Chicago, takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the treasures in these four hallowed places: Adler Planetarium,…

4 min.
astro letters

Amazing shadow bands Stephen James O’Meara, the photo at the top of your February 2018 article on shadow bands immediately caught my eye. It was an instant reminder of a shot I took on Galveston Island in Texas in 2013. It was a day that started out rainy and overcast, but then turned brilliantly clear. Thank you for all your wonderful articles. —Tom Loyd, Columbia, MO Discovered or recognized? “The Real Music of the Spheres” in the January 2018 issue brings up an interesting point about the early history of quasars. The article talks about CTA-102 and its connection with popular music in the 1960s, but also shows a picture of quasar 3C 273 without any mention of it in the main text. The article says that CTA-102 was “found” in 1959, and according…

2 min.
centaurus a contradicts dark matter models

Large galaxies, including our own, maintain systems of smaller satellite galaxies through gravity. According to the current standard cosmological model, these satellites orbit within a halo of dark matter stretching far past the visible portion of the parent galaxy. Satellites also should be randomly distributed in orbit and positioned around their parent galaxy—but new observations have just shown, for the third time, that this is not the case. The results, published February 2 in Science, show that the satellite galaxies surrounding Centaurus A (NGC 5128), an elliptical galaxy 13 million light-years away, are not orbiting randomly. Instead, they are orbiting in a nice, orderly fashion in a well-defined plane. Such observations confirm what astronomers have already seen around the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, but fly in the face of…

4 min.
remembering   stephen hawking

If you felt the world of science collectively shudder this spring, it was because the field lost its most brilliant mind. Stephen William Hawking—theoretical physicist, mathematician, philosopher, author, and genius—died in his home in Cambridge, England, at age 76. In this terrible event, humanity lost perhaps its most brilliant and original thinker. The world is certainly now a darker place. Born in Oxford in 1942, Hawking was the son of parents who worked in medical research. Schooled in London, he showed interest and aptitude in science and leaned toward a scientific career when he began studying at the University of Oxford. He emerged socially, and developed interests in classical music and science fiction. Hawking took up graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in 1962. Interested in relativity theory and cosmology, he…

4 min.
spin cycles

Many things on Earth and in the heavens move in circles or ellipses. But the direction in which they spin is also important. Spin is something we don’t always notice. For example, when you’re standing to the left of a car and it starts moving forward, which way do the wheels turn—clockwise or counterclockwise? Everyone should be able to figure this out in a few seconds, yet not everybody gets it right. And when it comes to the larger universe, the motion of celestial bodies often seems downright mysterious. Let’s start with things on our planet. Which way do you turn a doorknob to enter a room? Which way does water spiral when you flush the toilet? OK, these are trick questions. In both cases, either way is the answer. That business…

2 min.
supernova snapshot is 1 in 10 million

COSMIC EXPANSION. Astronomers used Hubble to take the most precise measurement yet of the universe’s expansion rate, and confirmed it is expanding faster than expected. Catching a glimpse of a supernova is tricky business. Not only do you need the right equipment, but you also need to have some incredible luck. Fortunately for amateur astronomer Víctor Buso, September 20, 2016, was apparently his lucky day. Buso was testing a new camera mounted on a 16-inch telescope at his home rooftop observatory in Rosario, Argentina. Under a dark sky, he pointed his scope at NGC 613—a spiral galaxy about 70 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor—to take a series of short-exposure photographs. To ensure his new camera was functioning properly, Buso examined the images right away. He noticed that a previously invisible point…