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SKY & TELESCOPE November 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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mapping the milky way

IMAGINE YOU’RE IN THE MIDST of a large crowd in a field. You’re all circling the center, angling for a glimpse of a famous person, say. From where you’re standing, midway between the throng’s core and edge, you can’t see the center, much less what’s beyond it — too many people in the way. Now and then, through fleeting gaps, you get a sense of just how big the mob is. But all you can really see is that it gets thicker toward the center and thins out behind you toward the periphery. Now, imagine you’ve been tasked to depict that crowd as if you were floating above it in a balloon. From overhead you could see the whole aggregation at a pop, allowing you to clearly limn all its distinctive…

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sky & telescope

The Essential Guide to Astronomy Founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer, Jr. and Helen Spence Federer EDITORIAL Editor in Chief Peter Tyson Senior Editors J. Kelly Beatty, Alan M. MacRobert Science Editor Camille M. Carlisle News Editor Monica Young Associate Editors S. N. Johnson-Roehr, Sean Walker Observing Editor Diana Hannikainen Project Coordinator Bud Sadler Senior Contributing Editors Dennis di Cicco, Robert Naeye, Roger W. Sinnott Contributing Editors Howard Banich, Jim Bell, Trudy Bell, John E. Bortle, Greg Bryant, Thomas A. Dobbins, Alan Dyer, Tom Field, Tony Flanders, Ted Forte, Sue French, Steve Gottlieb, David Grinspoon, Shannon Hall, Ken Hewitt-White, Johnny Horne, Bob King, Emily Lakdawalla, Rod Mollise, James Mullaney, Donald W. Olson, Jerry Oltion, Joe Rao, Dean Regas, Fred Schaaf, Govert Schilling, William Sheehan, Mike Simmons, Mathew Wedel, Alan Whitman, Charles A. Wood Contributing Photographers P. K. Chen, Akira Fujii, Robert Gendler, Babak Tafreshi ART…

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to observe and protect

After reading Dennis Kelly’s “Encounters with Police” (S&T: Aug. 2019, p. 84), in addition to climate change, environmental toxins, nuclear devastation, and the zombie apocalypse, I now fear being gunned down by law-enforcement officials while stargazing. According to Mr. Kelly, my Schmidt-Cassegrain could be mistaken for a mortar, and that 20-inch Dob I’ve been eyeing for purchase could be misinterpreted as an ICBM. Yet somehow I’ve survived more than 50 years of celestial sightseeing without having to put reflective tape on telescope tubes or mounts, or having a single incident involving local law enforcement. Law-enforcement professionals are obligated to implement investigative procedures bound by the restrictions of reasonable suspicion and probable cause before questioning a private citizen, let alone resorting to the use of deadly force. By contrast, in our constitutional democracy…

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75, 50 & 25 years ago

November 1944 Faraway Suns “Dr. C. K. Seyfert and Prof. J. J. Nassau, of the Warner and Swasey Observatory, find that there are around 2,500 supergiant stars in the Andromeda system [Messier 31], each of which is at least 1,000 times as bright as our sun. The investigation was made on photographs obtained with the new 24-inch Schmidt telescope at Cleveland. We thus actually have a far more complete census of the supergiants in this distant system than in our own galaxy.” Because we see the Milky Way edge on, many of its more distant stars are obscured from our view by interstellar dust. November 1969 Meteor Up Close “The unusual experience of seeing a 1st-magnitude meteor pass through the field of view of a 30-inch refractor at 600× is described by W. A.…

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news notes

SPACE Chandrayaan 2 Heads to the Moon ON JULY 22ND, INDIA’S ambitious Chandrayaan 2 — an all-in-one mission that includes an orbiter, lander, and rover — lifted off for the Moon. The spacecraft follows in the footsteps of the successful Chandrayaan 1 orbiter, which launched in October 2008 and orbited the Moon for nearly a year. That mission deployed an impact probe to the lunar south pole and found direct evidence of water ice. Chandrayaan 2 (Hindi for “mooncraft”) is due to return to the south pole, this time with a soft landing on a plain between the Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters. China’s Chang’e 4 also landed in the south polar region but on the farside. As of early August, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) reports that the spacecraft has completed five…

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in brief

Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt A new instrument installed on the Very Large Telescope in Chile has completed a 100-hour campaign looking for planets in the Alpha Centauri system. While a planet has already been found around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, it is probably dessicated (S&T: May 2017, p. 10) due to the small star’s outsize magnetic activity. Alpha Centauri A and B, however, are larger Sun-like stars whose lower activity levels give planets a better shot at holding onto their atmospheres. Astronomers conducted an observing campaign of the system that ended June 22nd using the Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region (NEAR) instrument. NEAR could detect the presence of planets twice Earth’s size or bigger. The astronomers expect to announce the presence — or absence — of large Earth-like planets…