BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night May 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...

Deirdre Kelleghan Astronomer & author Deirdre shares her advice on an Irish getaway – where to find the clearest skies and see the Milky Way. Page 68 Michael Lachmann Sky at Night producer Baftanominated producer Michael gives us an insider’s view into making each episode of The Sky at Night. Page 31 Brian May Astronomer & rock star The Queen guitarist remembers his friend Sir Patrick, the man who convinced him to complete his doctorate. Page 40 Steve Richards Equipment expert In the first of our new ‘6 of the best’ reviews, Steve trials a cluster of 3x Barlow lenses – accessories for added magnification. Page 99…

2 min.

There’s a celebratory mood this issue as we mark the diamond anniversary of The Sky at Night. First broadcast on 24 April 1957, it’s a programme that for 60 years has brought us close to the cutting edge of scientific exploration month in, month out. We start our celebrations on page 31, where we hear from current producer Michael Lachmann, then on page 32, presenter Chris Lintott shares some of the biggest stories to have been covered on the programme, while Pete Lawrence charts the developments in telescope technology during that time. On page 40, we have a tribute to the man who started it all, Patrick Moore, written by friend and fellow astronomer Brian May. Here’s to another 60 years! Elsewhere this issue, we’re taking a close look at the…

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

TELEVISION The Sky at Night team take a break in May, but will be back with a new episode in June 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.
follow that star!

The Orion Nebula is the closest active star-forming region to Earth. For this reason, astronomers continually keep telescopes aimed in its direction in order to observe the many processes that occur here: old stars dying in violent explosions, new stars being born and radiation carving shapes in the surrounding nebula clouds. This image is zoomed in on the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, part of the Orion Nebula Complex. It’s actually a mosaic created by several Hubble observations made in near-infrared and optical light. The many red dots are stars seen by Hubble in infrared that would otherwise be obscured by opaque pockets of dust and gas. Astronomers have been scouring this region for free-floating exoplanets that race through space, free from the influence of a host star. But while looking for these runaway planets,…

1 min.
the star cluster with the wrong stars

Young stars have been found hiding in a stellar cluster once thought to have been populated exclusively with old stars, in a discovery that has caused astronomers to rethink one of the cornerstones of astronomical science, the process of how stars evolve. The discovery was made by researchers studying star clusters at infrared wavelengths in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. They found that of the thousands of stellar candidates studied, 15 were much younger than the others in their cluster. “Our models of stellar evolution are based on the assumption that stars within star clusters formed from the same material at roughly the same time,” says Bi-Qing For, an astronomer from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth. The consistency among cluster stars has…

1 min.

The Universe isn’t as simple as we’d like, and astronomers get few breaks in our quest to understand what’s happening within it. Unable to carry out experiments (except using the simulated universes that live within supercomputers), the critical skill for any astrophysicist is finding smart ways to interpret observations. What this means is we look for ways to make things simpler. For example, it’s great if you can assume that all the stars in a star cluster formed at the same time. That means we know we’re seeing a set of stars which are all the same age, making clusters an excellent laboratory for watching stars form – the closest we get to a controlled experiment. That’s why this result is so interesting; only a small number of stars have formed recently,…