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Astronomy

Astronomy May 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.

País:
United States
Língua:
English
Editora:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Periodicidade:
Monthly
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US$ 42,99
12 Edições

nesta edição

2 minutos
audio podcast premieres

O ne of the great privileges of my job has been working with an all-star cast of astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, and planetary scientists. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few brilliant people who keep me thinking about all manner of subjects. A few months ago, the compelling idea occurred to me to share some of these great astronomers’ stories about their lives and their research. So in January, we started the Superstars of Astronomy audio podcast, an hourlong, reasonably detailed, NPR-style chat with some of the greatest scientists on the planet. The first few were lots of fun to do, and I think they offer a great and enriching set of ideas about what’s going on in astronomy. As I write, we’ve thus far featured Jeff Hester, the Hubble…

1 minutos
in praise of the southern sky

“The southern sky has all the good stuff.” So said Bart Bok (1906–1983), one of the great astronomers of the 20th century and during his lifetime the world’s leading expert on the Milky Way. Bok used to say it with a smile, but it wasn’t much of an exaggeration. The Magellanic Clouds are breathtaking, even to the naked eye. The Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is bright and dwarfs the Orion Nebula. A herd of star clusters like NGC 2516, NGC 3532, and others would be killer in the north but are mostly unknown because they lie so far south. Take some time to get acquainted with the southern sky, and read the story on p. 30. I encourage you to visit Australia, Chile, or one of the many other southern locales…

1 minutos
gum up the works

Despite their name, cometary globules have no relation to comets beyond a vague similarity in shape. Astronomers discovered several of these isolated star-forming regions in 1976 while studying the giant Gum Nebula. They typically have dusty heads with tenuous tails that point away from the Vela Supernova Remnant, which resides at the Gum’s heart. This photo shows the head of CG4, a globule in southern Puppis that contains enough material to make several Sun-sized stars. The head spans 1.5 light-years, while the tail stretches 8 light-years off the image’s right side. Scientists captured this view with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.…

4 minutos
beyond the red

Invisible light? No one saw that coming. It was as astounding in 1800 as the discovery of microbes some 125 years earlier. This story begins with the Sun, which radiates about 40 percent of its energy as the familiar spectral colors. The other 60 percent is invisible, and most of that is infrared (IR), which our skin perceives as heat. IR is just like red light, except its waves are slightly more spread out. Each wave has about half the thickness of a human hair. Late in the American Revolution, William Herschel gave Britain a badly needed boost to its pride when he found the first-ever new planet, Uranus. He was also an accomplished symphonic organist, cellist, and oboist as well as the composer of 24 symphonies, even if each was renowned…

1 minutos
from our inbox

Fata Morgana I live in Hawaii but grew up in Rhode Island, on the coast. The island of Cuttyhunk, 10 miles off Little Compton’s beaches, was always a test of visibility for us. On the best days, we could make out houses. On an average day, the island was barely visible. I was back in the old hometown last spring and took the above photo in early May. I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing until I read Stephen James O’Meara’s July column. So now I know that the mirage has a great name! Thanks very much for explaining. I’ll share what you wrote with the folks who look at Cuttyhunk more often. — Kenneth Peckham, Honolulu, Hawaii We welcome your comments at Astronomy Letters, P. O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI…

2 minutos
rocky exoplanet bonanza

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics boasted lots of new exoplanet science at the American Astronomical Society meeting in January. One team discovered eight new planets orbiting in their stars’ habitable zones (the distance at which water can remain liquid), with most of them believed to be rocky. A related study constrained the size for which planets can be expected to be rocky: Only planets less than 1.6 Earth masses are likely to actually resemble our planet’s structure, limiting the number of truly “Earth-like” candidates. But another group found that super-Earths — up to five times the mass of Earth — can form and maintain oceans for billions of years by recycling the water stored in their mantles. If a planet is rocky, oceans might be a common occurrence. Later in the…