BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night November 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...

Ben Evans Space exlopration expert Ben regales us with the tale of the Saturn V, the towering rocket that launched the Apollo 11, which turns 50 this month. Page 67 Mark Parrish Astronomy craftsman Mark’s latest hands-on project is the construction of an equatorial platform that lets an altaz Dob track with the stars. Page 81 Sara Wager Amateur astronomer Sara gives us some expert insight into image binning – what it is, how it works, and why you might need it. Page 84 Emily Winterburn Science historian Emily reviews Comets: Nature and Culture, a book that explores the history and influence of these icy visitors. Page 102…

2 min.

Next year the China National Space Administration (CNSA), marks its 25th anniversary. Since 1993 it has achieved a remarkable amount: operating a lander and a rover on the Moon, conducting an asteroid flyby mission, and launching two test-bed space stations and five manned missions. On page 38, aeronautics engineer Ash Dove-Jay looks ahead to CNSA’s plans for the next 25 years and the targets it has in sight for its four spaceports and advanced fleet of rockets, which include Mars. Before any lander reaches Mars it must undergo intensive testing, but for obvious reasons this cannot be carried out on location. So where is equipment destined for the Red Planet trialled? Rob Banino reveals all on page 73, uncovering the locations on Earth which bear the most similarities to the planets…

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 images TWITTER Follow @skyatnightmag to keep up with the latest space stories and tell us what you think…

4 min.
cassini’s last dance

YOUR BONUS CONTENT An online gallery of Cassini’s stunning ›QDO›LPDJHV Adios, Enceladus 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 If Cassini’s imaging team wanted to present a ‘farewell’ image that summed up the end of the mission, this would surely be it. In the distance, Enceladus disappears behind Saturn’s limb, as the orbiter takes one last look at the icy moon before entering the planet’s atmosphere. A ringed reminder 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 This is one of Cassini’s last views of Saturn’s rings, and a reminder of just how much we’ve learned about the planet’s iconic features throughout the mission, from discovering moons orbiting within gaps in the rings, to the daring dives between them and Saturn’s cloud tops. Making waves 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 An incredible view of Saturn’s outer A Ring and the Keeler Gap. If you look about halfway up from the bottom…

1 min.
hubble finds a planet boiled black

An exoplanet in Auriga discovered in 2008 has now been found to be pitch black. Recent observations of the alien world, designated WASP-12b, made by the Hubble Space Telescope showed that it has a very low reflectivity, or albedo. “The measured albedo of WASP-12b is 0.064 at most. This is an extremely low value, making the planet darker than fresh asphalt,” says Taylor Bell, from McGill University and lead author on the study. The Moon, for comparison, has an albedo of 0.12. WASP-12b is twice the size of Jupiter, but is so close to its star it only takes one Earth day to complete an orbit. This close proximity means that daytime temperatures can reach 2,600ºC. “There are other hot Jupiters that have been found to be remarkably black, but they are much…

1 min.

WASP-12b is a weird planet. It’s been in the news before, when researchers at the Open University found that its parent star was consuming it. It is hard to imagine a less Earth-like and less hospitable place. When much of the talk around exoplanet searches is about the hunt for habitable worlds, places where life like ours can exist, that sounds like a bad thing. But I think we should celebrate WASP-12b, before it evaporates completely. Extreme worlds like this one help us test our understanding of how planets form and evolve. Given the extreme temperature, WASP-12b should help us test the physics and chemistry we use to describe how materials behave in such circumstances. Working out what’s going on here will be much more of a challenge than on a score…