Astronomy November 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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2 minutos
from the editor

Astronomy Foundation achieves 501(c)(3) nonprofit status Spreading astronomy outreach is a tough business in this world of increasing light pollution and a stream of entertainment constantly running over kids, pulling them away from the reality of the world around them. Now, after a long year of paperwork and waiting, the Astronomy Foundation (AF), the telescope manufacturer’s industry association, has achieved something that will make its efforts far easier — 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Founded in 2009 by then Celestron CEO Joseph A. Lupica, the AF consists of several officers and a board of directors from the amateur astronomy community who look forward to a new era of spreading interest in astronomy to the general public. Thanks to the efforts of AF Vice President Karen Jennings and the completion and submission of paperwork by Frank and…

2 minutos
qg quantum gravity

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIVERSE THIS MONTH . . . HOT BYTES ≫ TRENDING TO THE TOP HOT BUBBLE Astronomers say the Sun is responsible for 40 percent of the bubble of low-energy X-rays that extends 300 light-years out from the solar system. MATH MOVEMENT Researchers determined the equations describing how Venus’ atmospheric waves move, bringing scientists closer to understanding the clouds’ super rotation. JETS CAUGHT High-speed jets erupting from the center of the active galaxy IC 5063 are heating and accelerating nearby molecular gas. SNAPSHOT The cosmic distance scale Let’s pause for a moment to appreciate the physical scale of just our solar system — only the Sun, its attendant planets and debris, and our little island of life inside it. To envision our immediate vicinity a little better in your mind, imagine a scaled solar system with…

1 minutos
break through

Carina’s colorful cluster The brilliant young star cluster NGC 3293 gleams in this new image from the European Southern Observatory, released July 23. This open cluster consists of more than 50 bright blue stars set against a striking region of reddish nebulosity cataloged as Gum 30. The group formed some 10 million years ago — just enough time for one of its most massive members to evolve into a red supergiant. This orange-colored luminary appears slightly southwest (lower left) of the cluster’s heart. NGC 3293 lies roughly 8,000 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Carina the Keel. ESO/G. BECCARI…

4 minutos

Is the universe depressed? Some two dozen physical constants like the strength of gravity and the electromagnetic “fine structure” possess precise values that let living organisms inhabit the cosmos. Tweak them, even a little, and you have no atoms or any stars shining. There’d be no life anywhere. This apparent life-friendliness is often called the anthropic principle. But controversy abounds. Is this “perfection” an odd cosmological quality that demands some sort of explanation? Or, rather, are these merely the parameters we must find if we’re alive and asking questions? This “smart universe” business irks some people. Neil deGrasse Tyson, in a recent lecture, gave a slide show presentation he entitled “Stupid Design” to rebut the intelligence idea. “Ninety-nine percent of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct,” he pleaded. “What kind of…

1 minutos
from our inbox

Instrumentation error I enjoyed reading the article in the August issue on the progress of the James Webb Space Telescope. As the deputy project scientist for Webb at the Space Telescope Science Institute, I want to alert you to a statement that was incorrect. On p. 54, there is a reference to Webb’s microshutter array capability. Only the NIRSpec instrument has this microshutter array, however, not MIRI. Both NIRSpec and MIRI contain Integral Field Unit spectrographs, which allow them to perform spatially resolved spectroscopy to study the chemical composition of different parts of a galaxy and to examine how star formation has influenced galactic environment and structure. Webb’s instruments contain a variety of spectroscopic modes used to address diverse science topics, of which NIRSpec’s microshutter array and NIRSpec and MIRI’s integral…

6 minutos

NEW GAMMA-RAY SOURCE FOUND In the August 1 issue of Science, astronomers with NASA’s Fermi space observatory announced a newly discovered source of gamma rays. The satellite’s Large Array Telescope scours the sky for gamma rays, and four times over the past few years, it found the high-energy radiation associated with novae. A nova results from a white dwarf (the remnant core of a once Sun-like star) pulling material from a companion; that gas piles on the white dwarf until it reaches a pressure and temperature that initiates a thermonuclear explosion. This blast doesn’t destroy the star, but instead causes it to appear much brighter. Fermi astronomers think one possible explanation for the newly observed gamma rays is that as the explosion’s shock wave slams into other material, the interaction between particles and…