The Astronomer's Yearbook 2019

The Astronomer's Yearbook 2019

Astronomer's Yearbook 2020

Explore the best stargazing sights in the night sky over the next 12 months with The Astronomers' Yearbook 2019. This indispensable guide from BBC Sky at Night Magazine contains a full year of stargazing tips, projects and how to guides. Detailed monthly star charts guide you to the best views in 2019 and help you to keep track of the eclipses, oppositions, occultations and meteor showers coming up. With expert advice on the stand-out constellations of each season, fiendishly challenging objects to track down and more, you'll be ready for all the top astronomical events in 2019.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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in this issue

1 min.

…to your complete stargazing companion to the year. Keep it handy and, whatever the season, you’ll have all the info you need to discover the best sights in the night sky. Month by month, our guides and sky charts lead you through the stars and galaxies not to miss. Discover the delights of Andromeda, Lyra, Gemini and Leo in our tour of the seasons’ most rewarding constellations. Follow the paths of the planets and be ready for rare conjunctions and best-chance-to-see oppositions. Ready to dig a bit deeper? Take a look at our articles on getting more out of meteor watching and on tracking down our Galaxy’s rare green stars. If you’re up for even more of a challenge, try our Challenge Yourself section – can you measure the changing brightness of…

6 min.
get the best from your telescope

Setting up a telescope for the first time can be a daunting experience, but with a bit of practice and a little know-how, it will soon become second nature. Dealing with the telescope tube is straightforward enough and even if yours is a reflector or Cassegrain that has adjustable collimation, it’s best not to tinker with it until you gain more experience. But the next vital element of your setup is the mount, the part that actually holds the telescope. All mounts do the same basic job – they point the scope at your chosen target – and there are two types: altitude-azimuth (often abbreviated to ‘altaz’) and equatorial. Altaz mounts have two axes of rotation: one is vertical, allowing the scope to spin clockwise or anticlockwise; the other horizontal, so…

1 min.
an eyepiece for detail

High power Short focal length eyepieces like this Baader Hyperion 5mm offer higher magnification. This is great for viewing planets and smaller objects. Look for multi-coated lenses when choosing eyepieces. £97 • www.tringastro.co.uk Wide angle The 100° apparent field eyepieces reveal galaxies in their surrounding context (and are easier to use with averted vision). The 2-inch Explore Scientific range offers value-for-money options. From £267 • www.telescopehouse.com Zoom eyepieces Zoom models have an adjustable focal length for changing magnification without swapping eyepieces. The Meade S4000 Zoom goes from 8mm to 24mm – ideal for most observing situations. £83 • www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk Eyepiece sets Eyepiece families share characteristics across focal lengths. The 1.25-inch Tele Vue DeLite range is lightweight and works with astigmatism correctors, so you can use them without spectacles. £225 each • www.widescreen-centre.co.uk…

1 min.
clear skies?

The sky often looks ideal for stargazing, but looks can be deceiving. Amateur observers describe viewing conditions using terms such as ‘transparency’ and ‘seeing’. Transparency is straightforward: observing a sky with poor transparency is like trying to look through a dirty window, but in this case the dirt is high, in thin clouds, atmospheric dust or moisture, or even aircraft contrails. Seeing describes how steady or turbulent the atmosphere is and it can be estimated by observing brighter stars with the naked eye. When the seeing is poor, stars appear to twinkle more. Weather forecasts for astronomers can be helpful for anticipating observing conditions (try en.sat24.com or www.clearoutside.com) – if good conditions coincide with a dark new Moon period, the view should be outstanding. Ambient temperature also plays a role, which is…

1 min.
the complete guide to meteor observing

Meteor showers are a majestic event to witness – you scour the night sky waiting to see the flash of light as a piece of space debris meets its end in our atmosphere. For many people, watching a meteor shower is their first foray into astronomy. If the skies are clear and there’s little moonlight to battle against, it can provide a great show for casual observers. Plus, with several showers happening throughout the year, there are many opportunities to catch one. But for the more advanced astronomer, it offers a chance to do more than just look up and say “Wow!”. There are a number of advanced techniques that add an extra level of interest to the experience, and that bring a whole new set of challenges. In this article we’ll…

2 min.
visual observations

A lot of people visually observe meteors but don’t collect any data, which is a shame. All you need is a chair from which you can comfortably view the sky and something to record your information with, either a notebook or voice recorder. It doesn’t matter what direction you look, but note it down. Also record what the sky’s like: how clear it is in terms of cloud and what the limiting magnitude is (the brightness of the faintest object that can be seen with your optical instrument). Then write down what time you started observing and your time zone to avoid later confusion. Then just watch. When you see a meteor, note the time it appeared and what kind of meteor it was. Was it from a shower or a…