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Science
BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night September 2019

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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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12 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
welcome

For the past three years, the Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter, braving the giant planet’s deadly radiation environment every 53 days with a close pass to capture data and images in greater resolution than ever before. Our news editor Elizabeth Pearson spoke to Juno science team member Dr Leigh Fletcher to get the low-down on the amazing insights the mission has been able to reveal so far about the interior of the planet, below its visible layer. Her feature starts on page 30. Jupiter has been hard to miss in evening skies over the past month, and it’ll be noticeable throughout September too, as longer nights make a welcome return and the observing season begins again in earnest. Make sure you’re ready by turning to page 36 to discover the…

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 competitions, astrophoto galleries, observing guides and more Social Media All the details of our latest issue on Twitter and Facebook, plus website and news updates Podcasts Listen to our Radio Astronomy podcasts where the magazine team and guests discuss astro news iPhone/iPad Get each month’s issue on your iPad or iPhone, now with bonus image galleries eNewsletter The best targets to observe each week, delivered to your inbox. Visit our website to sign up Find out more at: www.skyatnightmagazine.com…

1 min.
this month’s contributors

Mark Parrish Astronomy DIY expert Mark shows you how to build a mount that will turn your smartphone into a handy finderscope. See page 73 Sandra Kropa Science journalist Is a book that crams billions of years of our Solar System's story into 300 pages any good? See page 94 Katrin Raynor-Evans Astronomy writer From the Pleiades to Orion, Katrin gives pointers to easily observable deep-sky objects. See page 66 Martin Lewis Astrophotographer Martin gives a masterclass into how he created an award-winning image of Venus. Turn to page 78…

2 min.
a heavy heart

CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY, MEERKAT TELESCOPE, 23 JULY 2019 A beautiful composite image of X-ray (shown in green) and radio data (shown in red) exposes the very heart of the Milky Way. The brightest part on the far right of the image is a supermassive black hole – Sagittarius A* – four million times the mass of the Sun. The turmoil of the cosmos is evident in this scene. Clouds of gas billow over neutron stars; white dwarf stars strip material away from companion stars and tendrils of radio emissions lash out and coil around the galactic heart. Despite the apparent chaos at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A* is considered to be a relatively ‘quiet’ resident, compared to the black holes in other galaxies. The strong magnetic fields surrounding the…

1 min.
mystery of universe’s expansion

Scientists have spent decades pondering one of the biggest mysteries of modern astronomy: how fast is the Universe expanding? Now a novel set of measurements, meant to clear up the issue, has instead confused matters further. The conundrum stems from the fact that two different methods to calculate the Hubble Constant – the number astronomers use to measure the expansion – give two answers. Looking at Cepheid variable stars in the local Universe, astronomers get a value of 74.0km/s/Mpc (megaparsec) for the Hubble Constant. But observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) give a conflicting 67.4km/s/Mpc. “Questions arise as to whether the discrepancy is coming from some aspect that astronomers don’t yet understand about the stars we’re measuring, or whether our cosmological model of the Universe is still incomplete,” says Wendy Freedman…

1 min.
comment

This new work adds to astronomers’ confusion about the expansion of the Universe. Here are four possible explanations ranked by the odds I’d give them. Astronomers are overconfident: the three results aren’t that different. If each group were less sure of their findings, then they might be agreeing. We don’t understand supernovae: they are complicated, and understanding them is crucial to using Cepheids to measure the Hubble Constant. We don’t understand the early Universe: but we are confident in our understanding of the CMB. Some weird new physics is occurring: this is what we’re all excited about, but I don’t know anyone who says it’s likely… at least for now. Chris Lintott co-presents The Sky at Night…