Astronomy October 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.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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2 minutos
listen in on the universe

Do you ever listen to the universe? If so, you’ll know that it’s talking to you. You can hear the sounds of the cosmos by wandering out on a dark night and immersing yourself in a panorama of stars, turning off radios and phones and simply listening to nature. It’s a relaxing experience, one that virtually everyone who has done much stargazing is familiar with. But there’s also another way to listen to the universe. And that comes from listening to what’s happening with some of the most impressive movers and shakers in astronomy. (OK, it’s not listening to the universe, but only a select few of the beings that have popped up within it.) Back in January, I began a series of hourlong audio podcast interviews with notable figures in astronomy,…

1 minutos
why did venus turn inside out?

Venus is unmistakable in our sky. Never straying terribly far from the Sun, it blazes brilliantly either in the evening or morning. But along with its brilliance, Venus hides a secret. Many inner planets and moons preserve a great record of ancient impacts from objects that struck them in the early history of the solar system, right on down to the present. But planetary scientists have found that Venus underwent a colossal resurfacing event, a volcanic cataclysm, some threequarters of a billion years ago. This means that most of the craters and other surface features we find on Venus are relatively young. But what could have caused such a huge, relatively recent global resurfacing? As one planetary scientist put it, “We are in the unenviable place of having to explain a planet…

4 minutos
do planets affect you?

This month, all the naked-eye planets are crammed into one section of the zodiac. This busy freeway zone from Leo to Libra will look very cool. And it carries us to our topic: how the planets affect our lives. The scene unfolds 45 minutes before sunrise. The action starts October 8 when from top to bottom stands a dramatic straight line composed of the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and then Mercury down low. The next two mornings, the Moon floats smack among them. Then on the 11th, the hair-thin crescent Moon hovers next to Mercury. The action resumes on the 16th, 17th, and 18th when Jupiter closely meets dim Mars with dazzling Venus above them and brightening Mercury below. A week later, Venus and Jupiter float rivetingly side by side. Add Saturn…

2 minutos

FROM OUR INBOX Random chance? In Jeff Hester’s July column, he describes the design method of a truss and then suggests that the final design, judged to be superior to other designs, was developed by “accident,” or random chance. That is not the case. The truss design was developed through an iterative design process, run by a computer program, that was given specific instructions by the programmer on both how to run successive iterations and how to judge which design was superior. To carry this forward to his evolution analogy would be to say that evolution is a design process developed and controlled by an intelligent being. I am OK with that. — Tim Speer, Midland, Texas We welcome your comments at Astronomy Letters, P. O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI 53187; or email…

2 minutos
spacex wins and losses

LAUNCH FAILURE. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket broke up roughly two minutes after launch June 28, failing its mission to carry supplies to the International Space Station. This is the company’s first failure after six resupply missions over the past three years and many more additional launch successes. NASA On June 28, SpaceX attempted what was to be the company’s seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), only to have the unmanned vehicle break up just over two minutes after launch, resulting in total mission failure, the company’s first. In a statement July 20, Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, attributed the Falcon 9 rocket’s breakup to a strut that failed to meet force requirements, resulting in an overpressure event in the second-stage oxygen tank, though he declined to name the outside…

1 minutos
venus before dawn

Venus won’t be alone this October. At its peak on the 26th, Venus appears just 1.1° south of Jupiter, the night sky’s second-brightest point of light. FAST FACT DAZZLING PLANET. It’s hard to mistake Venus for any other celestial object. The brilliant point of light shines nearly 10 times brighter than Sirius, the night sky’s brightest star, and three times more intensely than Mars or Jupiter at their best. But it truly stands out during October, when it climbs higher in the morning sky than at any other time this decade. This chart plots Venus’ positions during its past four predawn apparitions for an observer at 40° north latitude an hour before sunrise. Notice that the planet’s peak altitude often doesn’t coincide with its greatest solar elongation (dates highlighted in white).…