Astronomy August 2016

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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Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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2 minutos
the everywhere of black holes

The year 1988 was a big one for black holes. Two research studies were published, each demonstrating the existence of supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. One of the groups that discovered concrete evidence for these black holes was led by John Kormendy of the University of Texas at Austin. We are fortunate to have John contributing a story on black holes in this issue. (See p. 26.) Black holes are weird critters. Regions of gravity so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape, they inhabit the universe by the trillions. The notion that such places should exist goes way back, to English natural philosopher John Michell in a paper he published in 1783. But the evidence was a long time coming. Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne famously bet…

2 minutos
the day galaxies were born

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIVERSE THIS MONTH . . . HOT BYTES TRENDING TO THE TOP TITAN SEASHORE Cassini data returned from Saturn’s moon Titan reveal its lake and sea “beaches” are wet with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. WIND CARVINGS Laboratory experiments on Earth prove that martian winds can carve structures as tall as a mile on crater floors on the Red Planet. PULSAR FINDING The XMM-Newton X-ray telescope uncovered signs of the first pulsar — a rapidly spinning stellar corpse — found in the Andromeda Galaxy. On the night of October 4, 1923, Edwin Hubble used the 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, near Los Angeles, to take a 40-minute exposure of one of his favorite nebulae, the Great Nebula in Andromeda. This spiral-shaped cloud was large and bright, faintly visible to the…

4 minutos
time for a trade-in?

The universe has been screwy for a long time. It’s big-time illogical. Everything popped out of nothingness one Saturday morning? Sure, solid evidence points in that direction. But that doesn’t mean we can go, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense!” Such are the issues under discussion in our new book. Our beloved Astronomy editor, David J. Eicher, was generous enough to review it, and he didn’t conclude that I needed psych meds. (If he’d written that, the publisher wouldn’t have put his words on the back cover.) Instead he said, “This intriguing and provocative book will push you into rethinking your view of science, all the while entertaining you with a fast-paced, exhilarating narrative journey.” We paid him a lot of money to say that. But who is this “we” exactly? My co-author…

1 minutos
from our inbox

Astrophotography Christopher Go wrote the best astrophotography article, “How to image Jupiter” — p. 56, April 2016 — for those of us who are, at best, novices. He uses entry-level hardware and software, which is more affordable to retired people like me. Also, he explained how to do things in a procedural way, thus making the processes easier to follow and use. Please publish more of these types of articles in the future. We welcome your comments at Astronomy Letters, P. O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI 53187; or email to letters@astronomy.com. Please include your name, city, state, and country. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.…

1 minutos
supermassive black holes common

Astronomers using the 8-meter Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have found a supermassive black hole in a somewhat unlikely place. The host galaxy, NGC 1600, is an ordinary, isolated object some 200 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. “Other galaxies found to harbor very massive black holes are typically located in dense regions of the universe populated by many other galaxies and clusters,” said Jens Thomas, lead author of the research and an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. The study, published in the April 21 issue of Nature, provides a glimpse of the unusual black hole, which “weighs in” at 17 billion solar masses. Although most astronomers believe that central black holes are common in nearly all galaxies, this is an unusually hefty one,…

2 minutos

DAWN MAY GET A THIRD TARGET After making an impressive pass around the asteroid belt, first visiting Vesta, then Ceres, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft may use its remaining fuel to deorbit from Ceres and head toward a third asteroid belt object, according to a New Scientist report from April 20. The spacecraft team is drafting a proposal for the third object visit and is mum on details pending NASA approval. Dawn was the first object to orbit two separate solar system bodies (not counting Earth). Now it may become the first to orbit three. CLOSE CALL FOR KEPLER Kepler has managed to keep on keeping on longer than anyone thought it would after its reaction wheels broke and ended the first mission phase in early 2013. Since November of that year, the hobbled spacecraft…