Astronomy September 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.
the need for dark skies

Last year an international team of astronomers led by Fabio Falchi published a stunning new report on the extent of light pollution on Earth. Titled “The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness,” the report was published in Science Advances. The bottom line for those who care about the night sky is grave: Some 80 percent of the globe is adversely affected by nighttime light pollution, and the problem in North America is growing worse by 6 percent each year. More than 99 percent of North Americans and Europeans do not see a dark night sky. By percentage of population, Singapore is the most light-polluted country on Earth, followed by Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Africa is home to the top 10 least light-polluted countries. Disturbingly, fully one-third of…

2 min.
let’s hear it for abiogenesis

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIVERSE THIS MONTH . . . HOT BYTES ≫ TRENDING TO THE TOP ROCKY PHOTO OP NASA captured images of Ceres at opposition, when the Dawn spacecraft was positioned directly between the asteroid and the Sun. LIGHT IT UP Ice particles may be responsible for hundreds of mysterious flashes seen between 2015 and 2016 by the DSCOVR craft, which monitors the solar wind. FERMI MILESTONE The Fermi Gammaray Space Telescope witnessed its billionth gamma ray since its launch in 2008. One of the thorniest questions we have is exactly how life originated on Earth. It’s been a mystery for a very long time. Scientists call the process abiogenesis — how self-replicating molecules began from nonliving matter such as simple organic compounds. The puzzle of understanding abiogenesis involves multiple sciences including astronomy, physics,…

1 min.
2017 astro sweepstakes

GRAND PRIZE: NexStar Evolution 6 Wi-Fi Telescope Celestron’s signature telescopes reach a new level with NexStar Evolution 6, the first Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a built-in Wi-Fi connection and integrated long-life lithium-ion battery. Leave your hand control behind and slew to all the best celestial objects with a tap of your smartphone or tablet. Retail value: $1,299.00 1ST PRIZE: Astro Fi 90mm Wi-Fi Refractor Telescope The Astro Fi 90mm Refractor is a fully featured telescope that can be controlled with your smartphone or tablet using the free Celestron SkyPortal app. The app replaces the traditional telescope hand control for a 100% wireless experience. The Astro Fi 90mm creates its own wireless connection, so it can communicate with your device even in remote locations where Wi-Fi or cellular networks are not available. Retail value: $399.95 2ND…

4 min.
finding aliens

The seven new Earthsized planets around TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf star 39 lightyears away, recently renewed public speculation about extraterrestrials. Sixty years ago, the consensus among astronomers was that life’s earthly genesis was so convoluted and unlikely that we may be alone in the universe. For some physicists like Enrico Fermi, negative results from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) reinforced that pessimism. But these days, very few astronomers feel that way. The current groupthink is that the universe probably teems with life. Early discovery steps in the near future will include spectroscopic space telescopes studying exoplanet atmospheres, offering the ability to study their composition. Earth’s habitable atmosphere exists solely because of photosynthetic plants exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen. It would therefore be very encouraging if we detected oxygen around another…

3 min.
astro letters

The triple sunrise This is a response to Ryan Hofmann’s letter, “An unforgettable sunrise,” in the May 2017 issue, about seeing an unusual sunrise while flying into Denver. Not that I have seen crimson beads but I did see a very unusual sunrise while driving on a very cold morning in Omaha, Nebraska, about 15 years ago. It actually looked like three Suns rising together about 15° apart. All three were the same size. I actually got out of the car to make sure it wasn’t the glass that was making these additional Sun images. It was so unusual that I turned on the local news radio station, and to my amazement there was no mention of it. Maybe the cold air had something to do with it. This unusual phenomenon…

2 min.
details arrive on trappist-1’s outermost planet

THAT’S SO METAL. Hot temperatures on exoplanet HAT-P-7b ionize metals in its atmosphere, tying the planet’s magnetic field to its winds. This effect allows researchers to study exoplanet magnetic fields. E ver since NASA announced in February that the TRAPPIST-1 system has seven planets instead of three, scientists have been interested in learning more about the unusual system. After further research, they have pinned down orbital details about TRAPPIST-1h, the system’s most distant and mysterious planet. Using data from the Kepler spacecraft, scientists studying the exoplanets have confirmed that the outermost planet, which is about 6 million miles (9.6 million kilometers) from TRAPPIST-1, orbits its host star every 19 days. Reviewing data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, the team noticed a predictable pattern, also called an orbital resonance, among the first six planets…