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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.

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coming to terms

IN COSMOLOGY, A CURIOUS RELATION is at play in the naming of things: The simplicity of terms used as shorthand for cosmic phenomena tends to be inversely proportional to how puzzling those phenomena are. Take the lingo that crops up in our pair of cosmology features in this issue, which concern Type Ia supernovae and the universe’s expansion rate, respectively. In her article on page 14, Shannon Hall discusses the single-degenerate scenario and the double-degenerate scenario. Sounds like one bully in a schoolyard versus two. We put such terms in italics as red flags: Warning, jargon! But those two concepts simply refer to whether white dwarfs explode because of interaction with a companion star (single scenario) or with a second white dwarf (double scenario). In his feature on page 22, Govert Schilling…

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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 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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nightscapes made easy and more affordable

The only thing nicer than being able to easily take a dramatic nightscape photo, is saving money on the equipment that makes it possible. From May 1st through the 31st, you can save up to $60 on award-winning Star Adventurers and accessories. The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer multi-purpose mount is perfect for anyone — Milky Way photographers, eclipse chasers and budding astrophotographers. It’s the ideal night-and-day, grab-and-go package. Compact and portable — weighing only 2.5 pounds — this versatile mount is also powerful. Its quality construction, utilizing precision all-metal gearing, delivers an impressive 11-pound payload capacity. The Star Adventurer Mini (SAM) takes everything that makes our standard Star Adventurer so popular and delivers it in a more compact package. Equally easy to use, SAM features a built-in WiFi interface using our free SAM Console…

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solar seeing

Johnny Horne, in his review of Daystar’s Solar Scout (S&T: Mar. 2019, p. 58), mentioned that “I experienced slightly better seeing when I used the SS60C outside on my lawn,” and in the early morning hours. Long ago, I had to do my PhD observations of the solar chromosphere at the Sacramento Peak Observatory in the hour or so after sunrise, before the atmosphere heated up. And lore has it that seeing was better longer there when the lawn was being watered. That led Hal Zirin at Caltech to build the Big Bear Solar Observatory in a lake on an artificial island, which led to much longer periods of good seeing during the day. Great solar movies resulted. I’m looking forward to using Big Bear’s 1.6-meter Goode Solar Telescope again this…

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75, 50 & 25 years ago

◖ June 1944 Cometary Aurora? “[Sylvain] Arend, at Uccle, Belgium, noticed a nebulous object of 13th magnitude with a nucleus, close to Comet Whipple (1942g) on March 29, 1943.... [Not long after,] Dr. Brunner-Hagger, at Zurich, Switzerland, [recalled] that a fine aurora had been seen on March 27.8. Terrestrial aurorae are caused by corpuscular radiation from the sun. Suppose the diffuse object in the comet’s tail had the same origin? From the time elapsed… he deduced that the solar corpuscles travel at the rate of about one astronomical unit in 30 hours.” A clever suggestion! In fact, coronal mass ejections from the Sun put a kink in the tail of Comet Ikeya-Zhang in 2002 and blew off most of Comet Encke’s tail in 2007. ◖ June 1969 Phantom Planets “Distant only 5.9 light-years from…

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hayabusa 2 touches asteroid, collects sample

ON FEBRUARY 21ST, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 grabbed its first sample from the asteroid 162173 Ryugu, the asteroid it has been orbiting since last summer (S&T: Oct. 2018, p. 11). Immediately after the craft touched down, it fired a tantalum bullet at the asteroid’s surface and knocked away material that flew up into a sampling horn. Then the spacecraft took off again. Hayabusa 2 has now sealed the sample collection compartment, saving the sample for return to Earth. Finding the right spot to sample Ryugu was more challenging than anticipated. When Hayabusa 2 arrived at Ryugu on June 27, 2018, it found a uniformly rocky asteroid with no smooth areas on which it could alight. The team had to develop new sampling-site selection criteria, identifying two extremely narrow locations where…