Astronomy June 2014

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
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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12 Edições

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2 minutos
a visit to kitt peak national observatory

In Wednesday, February 12, 2014, I had the great pleasure of spending the day at one of the most spectacular astronomical institutions in the world, Kitt Peak National Observatory, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Tucson, Arizona. It was the first time I had been to Kitt Peak in some 15 years, and it was quite an experience to visit the same places and also new additions I had never seen before. I spoke with the observatory’s director, Lori Allen, and we have some ideas for a story that will be coming up in Astronomy magazine, addressing the changing tides of science funding at Kitt Peak, in the United States in general, and how this affects how astronomy will be done. Of course, Kitt Peak visits begin with the 4-meter…

1 minutos
the origins of science

As I write this, the world has just experienced a much-ballyhooed “great debate” at the Creation Museum in Kentucky between self-proclaimed expert Bill Nye the Science Guy and creationist Ken Ham, the museum’s founder. In the end, nothing much came of it. Ham stood his ground, claiming that biblical stories were not torn asunder by science, and Nye defended science admirably at times and wandered off on nerdy tangents much of the rest of the time. But it does remind us to appreciate where true science came from. Most of human world view consisted of a set of mythological and supernatural beliefs until a Greek philosopher named Thales came along. In Miletus, Anatolia, in what is now extreme western Turkey, Thales (ca. 624 b.c. – ca. 546 b.c.) became the first…

1 minutos
break through

Blues on the Red Planet Don’t believe people who say that there is nothing new under the Sun — this martian crater formed less than four years ago. Scientists discovered the impact scar in May 2012, when images taken by the Context Camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) showed a feature that had not been present in July 2010. MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment took this close-up in November 2013. The crater spans about 100 feet (30 meters) and debris spreads up to 9 miles (15 kilometers) away. The crater and its ejecta appear blue in this enhanced-color image because the impact removed reddish dust and deposited fresh material over the landscape. NASA/JPL — CALTECH/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA…

4 minutos
strange universe

The search for life Do our perception and experience limit our pursuit? This is the season when animals and insects, fully freed from winter somnolence, frolic around us. Is extraterrestrial life frolicking too? Astronomers keep searching. One recent estimate indicates our galaxy contains 8.8 billion Earth-sized planets located in their stars’ “habitable zones,” meaning the right distance for surface liquid water to exist. Logically, E.T.s seem certain. But what do we really know? It’s an old joke in research circles that if you want your presentation graph to show an impressive straight line, draw it using only two data points! Well, when it comes to seeking extraterrestrial life, science possesses one information point: Earth alone. What kind of graph can we draw given a single data point? We desperately need another. So, if scientists find life…

1 minutos

FROM OUR INBOX Crater captured I enjoyed Stephen James O’Meara’s “Secret Sky” in the January issue. In response, here is a sketch I made of Endymion Crater. It captures a little of the exquisite shadow play O’Meara discussed. I made the observation with a 6-inch f/6 Newtonian reflector at 240x. — Eric Graff, San Diego 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. FROM OUR INBOX Searching for the answers I thoroughly enjoyed “Target 12 kinds of globular clusters” (p. 62) in the January issue. These “mini-galaxies” have always intrigued me. What is their origin, and just what holds them together? I am willing to bet that after having read…

1 minutos
cosmic inflation happened, according to bicep2 results

Astronomers have found evidence of gravitational waves rippling through the earliest space-time, indicating that the young universe underwent a period of faster-than-light expansion known as inflation. Inflation, of which this result from the instrument BICEP2 provides the first direct evidence, occurred just 10 – 36 second after the Big Bang itself. If corroborated, the results wind astronomers’ understanding of the universe back almost to the very beginning of the cosmos. The BICEP2 team submitted their paper to Nature and await peer review. Astronomer Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge first proposed inflation in 1980. Just after the Big Bang, the story goes, the universe rapidly stretched in size, which explains why the cosmos is basically uniform. The theory, while generally accepted, lacked concrete evidence until the BICEP2…