BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night February 2018

Sky at Night magazine is your practical guide to astronomy. Each issue features the world’s biggest and best night sky guide complete with star charts, observing tutorials and in-depth equipment reviews to ensure that amateur astronomers never miss those must-see events.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
this month’s contributors include...

Jen Gupta Astrophysicist Jen explains why the night sky is awash with colour – why stars shine red, blue and gold. Page 21 Pete Lawrence Astro imager Pete’s scientific imaging series continues with asteroids, the space rocks zipping through our Solar System. Page 76 Chris Lintott Sky at Night presenter What do you do when your observations don’t agree? Chris delves into one of the enduring challenges of particle physics. Page 14 Louisa Preston Planetary geologist Louisa takes a close look at TRAPPIST-1, the system with seven rocky worlds that’s rocked the space science community. Page 39…

2 min.

There can be a real chill in the air when you’re out under clear night-time skies at this time of year, so what’s on your observing list better be worth it. Luckily, on page 32 we have Will Gater to take us on a tour of 12 of the most exciting star clusters to see in this month’s skies. Whether you have a scope or a pair of binoculars, there’ll be something for you. Once you’ve seen those, you’ll find the rest of the month’s best observing in the Sky Guide, from page 49. Pete Lawrence and Stephen Tonkin are your guides to this month’s planets, stars, asteroids, artificial satellites and more. Don’t forget to wrap up warm! It’s doubtful that you’d need winter clothing on the exoplanets that are the topic…

1 min.
sky at night lots of ways to enjoy the night sky...

TELEVISION Find out what The Sky at Night team will be exploring in this month’s episode on page 19 ONLINE Visit our website for reviews, competitions, astrophotos, observing guides and our forum FACEBOOK All the details of our latest issue, plus news from the magazine and updates to our website PODCAST The BBC Sky at Night Magazine team discuss the latest astro news in our podcast iPad/iPhone Get each month’s issue on your iPad or iPhone, now with bonus image galleries TWITTER Follow @skyatnightmag to keep up with the latest space stories and tell us what you think…

3 min.
gamma-ray galaxy

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, 4 DECEMBER 2017 While this Hubble image has just been released, its galactic subject has been studied for the best part of a decade by astronomers keen to get to the bottom of an explosive mystery. In October 2011, a gamma-ray burst (GRB) was observed coming from the area of the sky in which this spiral galaxy, named ESO 580-49, resides. GRBs are fleeting bursts of high-energy gamma-ray radiation, and they are the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the Universe. Their exact cause remains a mystery. However, considering the amount of energy given off during these explosions, they are likely to be triggered by a colossal cosmic event. It is thought they may be generated by the collision of neutron stars or black holes, or even the…

1 min.
distant planetary system rivals our own

Astronomers have anounced that there is another star system containing eight planets, tying it with our own Solar System for the most number of known worlds. We already knew of seven around the Sun-like star Kepler 90 in Draco, among which is a Jupiter sized gas giant; the recently discovered eighth planet was found in data gathered with the Kepler space telescope using artificial intelligence. The new planet, Kepler-90i, is the third out from the star, is 30 per cent larger than Earth and has an orbit of 14.4 days. “The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our Solar System,” says Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomer from the University of Texas who took part in the study. “You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything [in…

1 min.

If you listened carefully during the press conference announcing this work, you could hear the eye-rolling. The journalists and astronomers on the line and, later, on Twitter, just weren’t hugely impressed with the discovery. Yes, this is the first system with eight confirmed planets, but by now we know planets, and multi-planet systems, are common. Anyone who thought that our Solar System had a lock on the ‘most planets’ title was bound to disappointed sooner rather than later. And yes, the discovery was made with ‘Google artificial intelligence’, but groups around the world have been turning machine learning to the cause of planet detection for years. The paper is great, but hardly Earth-shattering. That’s what exoplanet life is like now. A steady drip of discoveries, with each one pinning a new world onto…