Astronomy November 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
Read More
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
take a trip with us

Talk to any astronomer about the job, and they’ll invariably tell you that travel is an exciting part of it. Observatories get built on mountaintops in exotic locations for a reason — the great seeing and transparency — so visiting astronomical sites takes you to some pretty cool places in the world. We take pride in partnering with TravelQuest International, an experienced touring company based in Arizona that handles our trip logistics. On our tours, editors travel with you to provide guidance and astronomical expertise. Why not join us on one of our upcoming journeys? We currently offer several exciting options. In February 2019, you can join me on our 16th annual Costa Rica Southern Sky Party. My old friend, the great astronomer Bart Bok, used to say, “All the good stuff’s…

2 min.
astro letters

Faint Mizar B A thank you to Phil Harrington for writing his enjoyable and informative Binocular Universe columns in Astronomy. Unfortunately, there’s an error in the caption of the photo of Alcor and Mizar on p. 68 of the June 2018 issue. That caption says, “Alcor is the fainter star between and just below the brighter twin suns of Mizar A and B.” In fact, Mizar and Alcor are the brighter two of the three stars visible in the image, as those two represent an optical double. — Scott Satko, Lewisville, NC Astronomy responds Yes, the editors apologize for the mislabeled caption. Tributes to Lucy and her discoverer I quite enjoyed reading Joel Davis’ “Exploring Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids” article in the June 2018 issue. I serve on the board of the Institute of Human Origins (IHO)…

1 min.
supermassive start

South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology’s long-awaited MeerKAT radio telescope is officially operating after a decade of construction. During its inauguration July 13, MeerKAT showcased a sample of its impressive capabilities: a stunning panoramic view of the area surrounding the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. MeerKAT used its 64 antennas to capture this incredibly detailed radio image, which covers an area of about 1,000 by 500 light-years. Built in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape and operated by scientists at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, the telescope can penetrate the thick clouds of gas and dust that encompass the black hole, picking up radio emission that is invisible to visible-light telescopes. MeerKAT researchers now plan to use the telescope’s unprecedented image quality to dissect the black…

3 min.
all objects, even stars, fall the same way

The equivalence principle states that all objects should fall the same way, regardless of mass. The principle has been tested time and again — and passed with flying colors — on Earth. It’s even been tested on the Moon, when Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott dropped a hammer and a feather from the same height. The two objects reached the lunar surface at the same time. Einstein’s theory of general relativity takes this concept a step further. It assumes the strong equivalence principle, which states that the laws of gravity should act the same, regardless of where in space-time they are tested. And now, for the first time, an international team of astronomers has confirmed this principle using a unique star system: PSR J0337+1715, which contains a rapidly spinning neutron star…

1 min.
mercury’s grand view

TWIN PLANETS. Earthbound skywatchers get to see Mercury low in the southwest after sunset November 6, when it reaches greatest elongation. But have you ever wondered what the night sky would look like from Mercury? Although the stars would all look the same, the planets would appear strikingly different. From the inner world on November 6, Venus and Earth would look almost like twins, dazzling gems set against the backdrop of Taurus the Bull. FAST FACT From Mercury, Venus would gleam at magnitude –5.3, nearly four times brighter than magnitude –3.9 Earth.…

2 min.
lake of liquid water found on mars

Astronomers have announced the discovery of a large underground lake of liquid water lurking just below Mars’ surface. The newfound lake stretches some 12 miles (19 kilometers) from end to end. It was discovered using a radar instrument called Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, which reached Mars nearly 15 years ago. The results were published August 3 in the journal Science. “This is just one small study area,” said lead author Roberto Orosei, who is also principal investigator of the MARSIS experiment, in a press release. “It is an exciting prospect to think there could be more of these underground pockets of water elsewhere, yet to be discovered.” Scientists found the lake by sending radar pulses from the orbiter…