Astronomy August 2015

The world's best-selling astronomy magazine offers you the most exciting, visually stunning, and timely coverage of the heavens above. Each monthly issue includes expert science reporting, vivid color photography, complete sky coverage, spot-on observing tips, informative telescope reviews, and much more! All this in a user-friendly style that's perfect for astronomers at any level.

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2 minutos
join us for an eclipse in indonesia

Total solar eclipses are rare events. They are amazing, too — nothing else even remotely like them happens in nature. When the Sun fades away during daytime, animals change their behavior, the shadow of the Moon races toward you, and an almost spiritual feeling grips those watching the sky. A spectacular eclipse will take place next March in an amazing place, Indonesia (see p. 54). I’m delighted to say that Astronomy magazine will be sponsoring a trip with our new travel partner, Aram Kaprielian of TravelQuest International, a company based in Prescott, Arizona. Our “Bali New Year and Total Solar Eclipse” trip will last March 2–11, 2016. I invite you to join us for what will certainly be the trip of a lifetime. Senior Editor Richard Talcott, an eclipse expert, will lead…

2 minutos
the mystery of dark energy

HOT BYTES >> TRENDING TO THE TOP SIBLING RIVALRY Earth was made from the same stuff as the planet, Theia, that hit us to form the Moon, say scientists explaining why Earth and Moon rocks are so similar. COLUMNS COLLAPSE A 3-D look at the Eagle Nebula, made famous in Hubble’s “Pillars of Creation” image, shows the star factory will disappear in 3 million years. FIRST STARLIGHT The first stars formed in groups 100 million years after the Big Bang, astronomers say. And just 16 such stars could outshine 100 millions Suns. Decades ago, astronomers thought they had a huge mystery with the discovery that so-called dark matter must exist, an unseen mass in and around galaxies. (And they did. We still don’t know exactly what dark matter is.) But in 1998, two teams of astronomers investigating supernovae made…

4 minutos
mystery men of the perseids

Meteor showers are like nothing else in life. On what other occasion do you wait around for something sudden to happen? And why do brief dim streaks make people shout? This month, the most famous meteors, the Perseids, unfold under ideal dark conditions, the best in five years. A hair-thin crescent Moon won’t rise until morning twilight. You know the rules. Get away from city lights to an unobstructed sky. Unlit school sports fields and hay meadows offer open sweeps of the heavens. Cemeteries are good if there aren’t trees. Don’lt keep glancing at the people you’re with. Keep your eyes glued upward. Start watching around midnight on August 12/13. You’ve heard all this a million times. So let’s explore a bit deeper. Start with the obvious: the best direction. Because the meteors…

2 minutos
from our inbox

Alien conflicts Does anyone else find it ironic that immediately following the March 2015 p. 9 article by Editor David J. Eicher that states, “Of many thousands of UFO reports … not one has had a shred of scientific credibility,” Bob Berman writes on p. 11, “For days, the crew [of Apollo 12] watched a large, distant tumbling object out their window that kept pace with them on their way to the Moon. … To this day, no one is sure what it was.” Is that not the definition of an unidentified flying object? While we don’t need to buy into radical alien theories, we do need to recognize our place in an incomprehensibly vast universe in which ancient life-forms likely flourish in an existence far beyond our ability to imagine.…

1 minutos
saturnian storms explained

WHERE’S E.T.? NASA’s WISE space telescope saw no obvious signs of highly advanced aliens in a search of 100,000 galaxies for so-called Dyson spheres, where starlight is altered by energy-hungry civilizations. Scientists using data from NASA’s Cassini mission have an explanation for the massive storms that erupt on Saturn once roughly every 30 years. The most recent event was in 2011, growing large enough to circle the planet in a bright band of white clouds. Such monster storms rain much of the water out of the upper atmosphere, leaving behind lighter hydrogen and helium and shutting down convection between layers. Eventually, after a few decades of isolation, the upper atmosphere cools enough that the warm, moist air underneath rises, mixing the layers again and triggering a fresh round of super-storms. Scientists described…

1 minutos

NANOFLARES HEAT SUN Astronomers at the first Triennial Earth-Sun Summit (TESS) meeting in Indianapolis announced April 28 that nanoflares may explain the mystery of how the Sun’s corona, or outer layer, is so much hotter than its surface. Each of these nanoflares, smaller by a factor of a billion than regular solar flares, nonetheless explodes with the power of a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb and reaches 10 million kelvins (18 million degrees F). Millions of these tiny flares happen every second. GLASS BEADS FORM PLANETS The solar system began as a disk of microscopic dust grains, which eventually collided and grew to form the planets. But scientists often have struggled with the details because simulated boulder-sized objects tend to fall into the Sun or destroy each other rather than joining together. Astronomers published in…