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May 2019

Since the first issue was published in 1941, Sky & Telescope has become the go-to resource for all things star and space. This magazine is considered the complete resource for the astronomy enthusiast. Offering everything from product reviews, buyer's recommendations, and current events news to tips, how-to articles, and computer software, fascinated readers will find a wealth of information and suggestions on how to hone their hobby. Devoted amateurs, professionals, and academics would all find a subscription to Sky & Telescope magazine of interest.

United States
F+W Media, Inc. - Magazines
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a dolphin on jupiter

WHEN AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS, particularly those who enjoy image processing, first learned of NASA’s plans for its JunoCam, their jaws likely dropped.Here’s NASA essentially saying, “We’ve got this spacecraft called Juno that we’re putting into orbit around Jupiter. It’ll have a hires color camera that’s just for you, the general public. You can vote on what you’d like JunoCam to photograph on each of Juno’s perijove passes, or closest approaches, and we’ll direct the camera to take the highest-ranked choices. Once we receive the pictures back at Earth, we’ll upload them raw or slightly processed to our website. You can then download them, process them to your eye’s content, and upload them back to our site for the world to admire. Your images may help Juno scientists see things they might…

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from our readers

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!I really enjoyed Tony Flanders’s “The Wintry North” article (S&T: Jan. 2019, p. 62). In addition to NGC 457’s nicknames of the E.T. Cluster and the Owl Cluster, I use another moniker for it: Many years ago a fellow observer and I dubbed it the Airplane Cluster.I never forgot it and still see it as an airplane (possibly because I worked for the airlines for 35 years). The two bright stars (E.T.’s eyes) are two tail lights, E.T.’s body is the fuselage (with lighted windows), and E.T.’s arms are the swept-back wings coming off the fuselage. This also works better for me because most often E.T. and the owl are upside-down in my eyepiece, whereas the airplane is always oriented correctly, whether flying up, down,…

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75, 50 & 25 years ago

1944May 1944Cosmic Rays “Traveling with speeds a million times greater than that of a bullet from the highest power rifle known, these particles are now shooting right through your bodies at the rate of about 10 per second for each one of you. Each of them is tearing apart about a million of your personal molecules as it passes through you.… Do not be alarmed, however.… We now know that their penetrating power is [such that] a measurable number of these rays can pass through as much as 75 feet of lead.”Thus W. F. G. Swann introduced his four-part overview of cosmic rays. These high-energy particles, mostly atomic nuclei, still fascinate cosmologists, who point to supernovae and active galactic nuclei among likely sites of origin.1969May 1969Umbral Flashes “Jacques M. Beckers…

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lunar craters reveal recent impact history

A team of scientists used NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to estimate the ages of 111 of the Moon’s craters. The circles are scaled by size and color-coded by age (blue indicates those younger than 290 million years). Young craters dominate the lunar surface. (NASA / LRO / USGS / UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO)RESEARCHERS USING A NEW method to estimate ages of lunar craters have found that the rate of large impacts — on both the Moon and Earth — nearly tripled 290 million years ago.In the January 18th Science, Sara Mazrouei (University of Toronto) and colleagues came up with a new way of dating craters, based on the fading warmth of their impact debris. Younger craters, they realized, will be surrounded by larger rocks than older craters are, because space weathering…

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quasar “standard candles” shed light on dark energy

ASTRONOMERS HAVE FOUND a way to use quasars to measure the evolution of dark energy, the repulsive pressure that accelerates our universe’s expansion. The results, appearing January 28th in Nature Astronomy, have potentially farreaching implications for cosmology.Cosmology is based on accurate gauges of distance, and detonating white dwarfs known as Type Ia supernovae have long been the standard candle of choice. Their intrinsic luminosities are known, so their distances are, too. With these objects astronomers have probed the universe at a time when dark energy began to dominate its expansion.To see even earlier times, before dark energy took over, Guido Risaliti (University of Florence, Italy) and Elisabeta Lusso (Durham University, UK) turned to quasars, gas-guzzling supermassive black holes that are brilliant enough to be seen when the universe was less…

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amateur scopes spot “missing link” kuiper belt object

ASTRONOMERS HAVE USED amateur equipment to discover a kilometer-size object in the Kuiper Belt — a “missing link” between the belt’s dwarf planets and its many, much smaller objects.The Kuiper Belt, a sparse disk of icy rocks beyond Neptune’s orbit, contains the building blocks leftover from our system’s planet formation. Its most famous representatives, such as dwarf planet Pluto, span thousands of kilometers and can be seen by the sunlight they reflect. But most Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are too faint to be detected directly. Instead, astronomers look for stellar occultations, watching for one of these rocks to briefly block the light of a background star.This artist’s concept shows a kilometer-size Kuiper Belt object.Using this method, astronomers have spotted a smattering of the hundreds of thousands of sub-kilometer-size objects expected…