Astronomy February 2017

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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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12 Edições

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1 minutos
join us for a new solar eclipse trip!

Many of you are aware of the spectacular astronomical tours the magazine operates in partnership with TravelQuest International. Of course, next year offers the most widely visible total eclipse in the United States in a century, and so much of our efforts center on that magnificent event. You may know that we’re offering three primary trips to see the eclipse, and you can find details on those trips here: I take pleasure in letting you know about an additional trip for the 2017 eclipse. Our first three offer the choice of National Parks of the American West, the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco, and America’s Music Cities. We have now added a fourth eclipse option — a southbound variant of the National Parks of the American West, August 16–28. This marvelous journey…

2 minutos
water, water everywhere

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIVERSE THIS MONTH . . . HOT BYTES TRENDING TO THE TOP If you’ve tracked planetary exploration for any length of time, you know the mantra: “Follow the water.” Everything we know about the one place that hosts life, Earth, suggests that water is a key component making living beings possible. Sure, other solvents could also work — methane on Titan, for example — but water sure makes life easy, goes the belief. So missions to Mars and to other worlds in the solar system have kept a sharp eye out for H2O. Last September, NASA released images showing apparent plumes of water vapor rocketing skyward from Jupiter’s moon Europa, long a prime suspect in the search for life in the solar system. Astronomers and biologists believe…

2 minutos
astro letters

An old hobby made new Back in my teens (in the 1980s), I enjoyed my first telescope and dabbled in astrophotography. I used film, as there were no digital cameras. I circled back to those days tonight on my 50th birthday with a new telescope and a simple smartphone. No need for the old star charts to try and locate objects. All that was needed was pointing to three bright stars and pushing the alignment button, and the telescope pointed to any object I typed into the controls: Neptune, Saturn, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Ring Nebula, or the Moon, to name a few of the sights. It was a return to an old hobby now brought to a new, astronomically amazing level of ease and enjoyment! — Juris Breikss, Elizabeth, CO We…

4 minutos
stellar rhythm

This is a perfect month to explore the rhythms of the sky. They’re now blazing like neon, even if most of the beats are generally unknown. Patterns of the brightest objects — the Sun, Moon, and sometimes Venus — were used in timekeeping by all ancient peoples. The Sun reaching its daily highpoint has been called “noon” since medieval times, even if the word originally referred to 3 p.m. and literally meant “the ninth hour” (and still sounds like “nine”). The period from one solar highpoint to the next was a “day,” and when clocks arrived on the scene, they were set to the Sun. Not complicated. But there’s a wrinkle, known for centuries. Because our planet’s orbit is elliptical and we’re closest to the Sun in early January, winter’s stronger solar…

16 minutos

COULD PLANET NINE TILT OUR SOLAR SYSTEM? Since its announcement last January, the predicted (but as-yet undiscovered) Planet Nine has been a suspect in a lot of cosmic happenstances, including spurious things like tugging on the Cassini spacecraft or hurtling apocalyptic space rocks at Earth. But in October, Konstantin Batygin, one of the “discoverers” of Planet Nine, presented a not-so-far-out idea at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: that the world, hypothesized to exist and have a mass between those of Earth and Neptune, is responsible for tilting our solar system. Here’s how the purported mechanism works. Most solar systems, in theory, should exist in a flat plane radiating out from their home star. But it seems this isn’t necessarily the case with our solar system, with several planets above…

3 minutos
the sun’s crystal horns

The Northern Hemisphere’s winter can bring an abundance of microscopic ice crystals to the skies, and under the right conditions, these crystals interact with sunlight to create colorful atmospheric phenomena. This month’s column was inspired by one such beautiful display captured above the Grand Canyon by Todd Smathers of Pleasanton, California. It includes long crystal horns and an uncommon arc of light first documented in 1820 by English naval officer and Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry while searching for the Northwest Passage. The foundation All the features captured by Smathers are tangential to, or near, the so-called 22° halo — a ring around the Sun with a radius of 22°. It’s the most common of all atmospheric displays created by ice crystals. This usually sharp ring of orange and blue light appears when…