Astronomy December 2013

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.

United States
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nesta edição

2 minutos
from the editor

Astronomy’ new website Over the past year or so, a team of editors, designers, and programmers has been working on a new website for Astronomy, found at www.Astronomy.com. The improved site went “live” September 18, and you may well have seen it recently. The new site, modeled afer the architecture used by our sister publication, Discover, not only modernizes Astronomy’ Web content, but expands and improves it dramatically. First, the site is optimized across multiple platforms. It will work smoothly on computers, tablets, and smartphones in an elegant, sophisticated way. We also have improved the content. The site now features a new visual layout with more information organized in a dramatically better way. A sliding graphics bar near the top of the home page highlights important stories, and we feature alerts on breaking…

1 minutos
qg quantum gravity

HOT BYTES » TRENDING TO THE TOP PULSAR AS A TOOL Scientists studied a pulsar some 0.5 light-year from our galaxy’s supermassive black hole to learn that the black hole’s magnetic field is stronger than expected. TOUGH TITAN Researchers say Saturn’s moon Titan may have a rigid ice shell some 25 miles (40km) thick with large “roots” of ice extending into the ocean below. GASSY COLLISION A 23,000-light-year-wide cloud of 10-million-degree Fahrenheit gas arose from an impact between NGC 1232 and a dwarf galaxy, astronomers suggest.…

1 minutos

Comets and the Oort Cloud In 1950, Dutch-American astronomer Jan H. Oort recognized that long-period comets must originate from a huge spherical cloud at 10,000 or more astronomical units from the Sun. The concept of the Oort Cloud was born. Oort turned to the number of new comets seen each year, about one, and suggested a population figure for the Oort Cloud of 200 billion comets. More recent simulations have increased the proposed number of Oort Cloud comets to 2 trillion. The size and shape of the Oort Cloud are not precisely known, of course. But planetary scientists believe the cloud is an oblate spheroid with the long axis pointed toward the center of the Milky Way. The cloud extends as far away as 1.5 light-years, or about 40 percent of the way…

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source of magellanic stream solved

Nearly 40 years ago, radio astronomers saw a long ribbon of gas stretching nearly halfway around our galaxy. They named it the Magellanic Stream because it appeared to come from material stripped out of either the Small or Large Magellanic Cloud, dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. However, scientists weren’t positive where the gas originated. They are now. In two papers published in the August 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers reported that most of the material was stripped from the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) about 2 billion years ago and a second smaller region of gas emerged more recently from the Large Magellanic Cloud. The international team of scientists used four distant, extremely bright active galaxies called quasars as searchlights to measure the composition of the Magellanic Stream. By…

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electromagnetic astronomy

TELESCOPE POPULATION. Astronomers are interested in the whole electromagnetic spectrum because objects in space emit photons with a wide range of wavelengths. Energetic events like supernovae and extremely hot regions like the centers of active galaxies emit photons with shorter wavelengths. Longer wavelengths, on the other hand, often come from cool objects and magnetic interactions. In the middle of the spectrum — the more familiar regime — astronomers often investigate starlight of both distant and nearby origin. Engineers design each telescope for a specific set of wavelengths. The scopes shown above are some of the largest and most sensitive for each type of wave.…

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EARLY BLOOMERS Large ancient galaxies began to resemble today’s massive galaxies — like the Milky Way — much earlier than previously thought. Hubble Space Telescope images show “mature” galaxies emerging just 2.5 billion years after the Big Bang, according to an announcement in the September 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. At that time in cosmic history, large galaxies already were elliptical, spiral, lenticular, or irregular — the four modern categories. FAIREST OF THEM ALL? Students at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen discovered a quasar — an active supermassive black hole — the organization announced August 7. What’s even more remarkable is that they found it six times. As the quasar’s light traveled, it encountered a galaxy cluster. The massive cluster warps space-time, and this curvature bent the quasar’s light like a…