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SKY & TELESCOPE October 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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unfinished symphony

THERE’S SOMETHING MAGICAL about experiencing a work in progress. You get a glimpse inside the active mind of the artist. Where was Rodin going with the various models for his never-completed sculpture The Gates of Hell? How did Thoreau’s thinking evolve through the multiple drafts he wrote of Walden? Through such inquiry, we become virtual participants in the creator’s thought process. In its very rawness, a partially realized work can seem more approachable to us, more human, sometimes even more hauntingly powerful — think Mozart’s Requiem. The mosaics we proudly present in our cover story beginning on page 20 are a case in point. (I say “proudly” because — full disclosure — two of the three friends behind these arresting images are long-time Sky & Telescope editors.) A quick glance at…

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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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still gazing after all these years

I received my July 2019 issue of your magazine today and couldn’t help remembering a young boy two months short of his 15th birthday opening his first issue in July 1959. Pulling that magazine out of the yellow mailing envelope they came in back then was a thrill. Little did I know that the Moon looking back at me from that cover would be reached by Apollo 11 in just 10 more years. Observing then with a small 3-inch reflecting telescope led to bigger telescopes, a backyard observatory, and research work. Now in retirement housing and approaching 75 years of age, I’m still observing. What a wonderful ride it has been! Thank you, Sky & Telescope. James Hannon • Terryville, Connecticut Moon Memories Peter Tyson’s “A Night to Remember” (S&T: July 2019, p.…

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75, 50 & 25 years ago

October 1944 Double Meteor “Many reports of successful observations of the Perseid meteors have been received. Everett A. Marsh, of Monkton, Md., writes: ‘On the night of August 9th at 10:56 E.W.T. [Eastern War time], a very interesting and unique double meteor was observed in the constellation Camelopardalis, just about 11 degrees under the pole star and traveling in an east-to-west direction at relatively high velocity. The two meteors were about 4 degrees apart and (as near as could be observed) parallel to each other and horizontal to the northern horizon. “‘Both meteors appeared to enter the atmosphere at exactly the same time and the durations (estimated at 1½ seconds) were identical. Both were of about 1st magnitude. The color began as a deep yellow to red and faded to a light…

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solar system

NASA Announces Mission to Titan NASA’S NEW FRONTIER missions have traveled to Pluto, Jupiter, and the asteroid Bennu. On June 27th, NASA announced that the fourth mission in this exploration lineup will head for Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory) will lead a team in designing and building Dragonfly, an eight-rotor, rover-size drone that will helicopter around the icy, eerily Earth-like world (S&T: Feb. 2019, p. 22). Dragonfly will launch in 2026 for an eight-year trajectory through the solar system before it lands among Titan’s sand dunes in 2034. From there, the drone will conduct dozens of reconnaissance flights, investigating the organics based grains of the dunes before flying farther afield to approach and enter Selk Crater. A long-ago impact melted water ice there, which…

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in brief

Sun-Studying Missions Selected NASA has selected two missions to study the Sun-Earth connection. The Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) consists of four suitcase-size satellites known as microsats that will fly in formation in low-Earth orbit while investigating the solar wind as it leaves the Sun. The spacecraft will also track coronal mass ejections, the solar wind tsunamis that sometimes hurtle toward Earth, affecting satellite communications. PUNCH gains 3D information about these events by photographing sunlight that has become polarized as it bounces off electrons in the solar wind. Sharing PUNCH’s ride to space, the two spacecraft that make up the Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (Tracers) will study the Sun-Earth connection a bit closer to home, focusing on the regions where the Sun’s magnetic field interacts…