BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night July 2017

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...

Ainsley Bennett Award-winning imager Ainsley explains how he used Lightroom to create his IAPY 2016 Skyscape category winner, Binary Haze. Page 84 Jasmine Fox-Skelly Science writer Jasmin helps us make sense of asteroids: like the planets themselves, they show wonderous variety. Page 78 Emily Lakdawalla Planetary geologist Amateurs have been processing data from Juno to create exciting new images; Emily examines some of the best. Page 66 Mark Parrish Astronomy craftsman Mark shares an easy method for adding a red light illuminator to a finder, to make it easier to find bright celestial targets. Page 81…

2 min.

The question of how our planet came to host such a unique abundance of life is one that many branches of science have sought to answer. Within astronomy there’s one theory that life didn’t begin on Earth at all, but was brought here from elsewhere in space by impacting comets and asteroids. This hypothesis – known as panspermia – is not new: it was first put forward in the 19th century. Now there’s fresh evidence, which Nick Spall assesses on page 32. Those asteroids that could have delivered life in the past can certainly end it in the present, which is why we mark Asteroid Day this month. On page 78, you’ll find a guide to the types of asteroid lurking out there in the Solar System. It’s a stark reminder…

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 monthly podcast iPad/iPhone Get each month’s issue on your iPad or iPhone, now with bonus video and images TWITTER Follow @skyatnightmag to keep up with the latest space stories and tell us what you think…

3 min.
close encounters of the galactic kind

The Perseus Galaxy Cluster glows in X-rays at temperatures averaging tens of millions of degrees, meaning it can be observed only using dedicated observatories like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The cluster is so-called because it resides in the constellation of Perseus. It’s some 11 lightyears across and about 240 million lightyears away. In this image, at roughly the seven o’clock position, is a dark, curved wave blowing across the Perseus Galaxy Cluster. The wave spans about 200,000 lightyears; roughly twice the size of the Milky Way. It was probably formed billions of years ago as a result of a close encounter between the galaxy cluster and a smaller counterpart. Astronomers have theorised that the gas in the Perseus Galaxy Cluster would have originally settled into two separate regions: a ‘cold’ centre about…

1 min.
titan’s rivers run smooth

The methane rivers of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, run through the landscape unaffected by rising mountains. That’s the finding of researchers studying the moon’s ‘waterways’ in maps created from the latest Cassini data. They conclude that Titan’s rivers are not controlled by tectonic activity, making it more similar to Mars than Earth. On Earth, plate tectonics constantly change the surface topography, pushing up new mountains that deflect rivers, changing their course. Though Mars currently has no liquid water flowing on its surface, the channels left by rivers in its early history can still be seen. These ancient waterways were not diverted by new formations, showing that Mars’s surface has remained largely unchanged since it was bombarded by meteors early in its history. “Titan might have broad-scale highs and lows, which might have…

1 min.

Plate tectonics is such an integral part of the story we tell ourselves about Earth that it’s easy to forget that it isn’t common throughout the Solar System. Its absence on Titan – a world where the landscapes may be eerily familiar but the chemistry is entirely different from that on Earth – adds to the store of evidence that its presence here really is special. And that might be important. The other special thing about the Earth is our existence on it. Plenty of arguments have been put forward to suggest that life thrives only in the presence of plate tectonics, which continually recycles carbon, bringing fresh supplies to the surface. The tectonic cycle shapes the variety of ocean and land habitats, and the runaway greenhouse effect that led to…