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Australian Sky & Telescope

Australian Sky & Telescope

February - March 2020

Australian Sky & Telescope is a world-class magazine about the science and hobby of astronomy.  Combining the formidable worldwide resources of its venerable parent magazine with the talents of the best science writers and photographers in Australia, Australian Sky & Telescope is a magazine produced specifically for the Southern Hemisphere’s astronomers.

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8 Edições

Nesta edição

1 minutos
how to choose a beginner winner

DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST TELESCOPE? Would you call it a success, or was it something with horrible optics and a wobbly mount and which ended up packed away in a cupboard? I think we’ve all had some sort of experience with things of that nature. So what makes a good first telescope? It used to be the case that the humble 60-mm refractor was the first scope of choice (particularly for kids), mainly because it was relatively inexpensive. Even an award-winning astrophotographer such as Eddie Trimarchi (see p. 75) started off with one. But these days, bigger and better options are available at more attractive prices. So if you’re in the market for a first scope for yourself or as a gift for someone else, turn to page 36 for…

1 minutos
australian sky & telescope

EDITORIAL EDITOR Jonathan Nally ART DIRECTOR Lee McLachlan CONTRIBUTING EDITORS John Drummond, David Ellyard, Alan Plummer, David Seargent, Con Stoitsis EMAIL info@skyandtelescope.com.au ADVERTISING ADVERTISING MANAGER Jonathan Nally EMAIL jonathan@skyandtelescope.com.au PUBLISHER Ian Brooks SKY & TELESCOPE INTERNATIONAL EDITOR IN CHIEF Peter Tyson SENIOR EDITORS J. Kelly Beatty, Alan M. MacRobert SCIENCE EDITOR Camille M. Carlisle NEWS EDITOR Monica Young ASSOCIATE EDITORS Susan N. Johnson-Roehr, Sean Walker OBSERVING EDITOR Diana Hannikainen ART DIRECTOR Terri Dubé ILLUSTRATION DIRECTOR Gregg Dinderman ILLUSTRATOR Leah Tiscione Founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer…

3 minutos
voyager 2’s view of the solar system’s frontier

FOUR DECADES AFTER its launch into the outer Solar System, Voyager 2 exited the heliosphere, the cavity around the Sun blown out by the solar wind. It crossed over on November 5, 2018, six years after that of the speedier Voyager 1. Voyager 1 returned a surprisingly messy view of the outer boundary, known as the heliopause, that separates the Sun’s domain from the interstellar medium. Voyager 2 promises a point of comparison. In the November issue of the scientific journal, Nature Astronomy, five teams of astronomers analyse the spacecraft’s report from the frontier of the Solar System. Particles at the edge of the heliosphere are hot and sparse — a mere 0.002 electron per cubic centimetre, Donald Gurnett and William Kurth (both at University of Iowa) report in their study of…

1 minutos
a planet-scale collision

Observations from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) confirm suspicions that dust surrounding BD+20 307, a binary star system 390 light-years from Earth, came from a recent collision between planet-size bodies. The two stars of the BD+20 307 system are at least a billion years old, so any debris left over from their formation should have cooled down a long time ago. But when astronomers first imaged the system 15 years ago using ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope, they found an abundance of warm dust. The presence of this dust suggested a collision occurred tens of thousands of years ago between two large worlds in the system. One decade later, astronomers used SOFIA, an infrared telescope that flies aboard a modified Boeing 747, to follow up on the system.…

2 minutos
gmt restoration reaches a milestone

A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS known as ‘The Barrys’ has been working alongside Museums Victoria experts since 2008 on restoration of the Great Melbourne Telescope (GMT), which was once the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. The team has spent 30,000 hours getting the instrument into shape for a major milestone achieved in November — reassembly of the main structure for the first time in 74 years. The 10-metre-high, steel truss telescope was first installed at Melbourne Observatory in 1869. There it stayed until the Observatory closed in 1944, at which time the GMT was sold and relocated to Mount Stromlo Observatory. In the early 1990s it was transformed into Australia’s first robotic and computerised digital imaging telescope for the international MACHO Project, which found the…

2 minutos
observations confirm amateur-discovered exo-neptune

FOLLOW-UP OBSERVATIONS of an amateur-discovered planetary system show that its planet has Neptune’s mass and orbits its star in the region where ice giants are thought to form. On October 25, 2017, Japanese amateur astronomer Tadashi Kojima was monitoring stars for the sudden brightening that might indicate a nova. Rescanning a field in Taurus, he found one particular star that had brightened from magnitude 13.0 to 11.7. By a week later, the star had brightened further to magnitude 10.8. The star was faint in Kojima’s observations, but calls for follow-up observations (via the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and the American Association of Variable Star Observers) showed that the brightening pattern he had seen was characteristic of gravitational microlensing. When one star passes directly behind another from Earth’s perspective, the foreground star’s gravity…