BBC Sky at Night

BBC Sky at Night July 2018

Sky at Night magazine is your practical guide to astronomy. Each issue features the world’s biggest and best night sky guide complete with star charts, observing tutorials and in-depth equipment reviews to ensure that amateur astronomers never miss those must-see events.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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15 Udgivelser

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1 min
this month’s contributors include...

Shaoni Bhattacharya Science writer With NASA looking for commercial partners, Shaoni discovers how SpaceX’s and Boeing’s bids are shaping up. Page 42 Marcus Chown Writer and broadcaster Marcus reveals why we should be more worried about coronal mass ejections than meteor strikes. Page 30 Libby Jackson Science author As a specialist writer in spaceflight, Libby is the perfect host for our celebration of 60 years of NASA. Page 64 Stephen Tonkin Binocular astronomer Even against a backdrop as dense as the southern Milky Way, Stephen finds spectacular sights for binocular users to savour. Page 58…

2 min

Last month we had the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, but this month the whole planet marks another important date of the summer season: aphelion day. On 6 July, Earth reaches the furthest point in its orbit from the Sun. Turn to page 51 to discover what impact the extra 5 million km distance between us and our star will have. What better way to celebrate than by taking the chance to observe the Sun? On page 78, Pete Lawrence guides you through the detail you can see on the Sun’s disc and the best equipment to reveal it in safety. Despite the short nights, there’s still loads to observe this month – with Mars at its brightest and largest since 2003 (though frustratingly low to the horizon for UK observers)…

1 min
sky at night lots of ways to enjoy the night sky...

TELEVISION Find out what The Sky at Night team will be exploring in this month’s episode on page 17 ONLINE Visit our website for reviews, competitions, astrophotos, observing guides and our forum FACEBOOK All the details of our latest issue, plus news from the magazine and updates to our website PODCAST Listen to the BBC Sky at Night Magazine team and guests discuss the latest astro news iPHONE/iPAD Get each month’s issue on your iPad or iPhone, now with bonus image galleries TWITTER Follow @skyatnightmag to keep up with the latest space stories and tell us what you think…

2 min
uncovering the ultraviolet universe

Spiral galaxy Messier 96 is just one of 50 local galaxies being analysed by astronomers as part of LEGUS (Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey), a study that seeks to unlock the secrets of star formation. Viewing these star-forming galaxies in ultraviolet light helps astronomers track young, hot stars so they can focus on the processes that stars undergo just after birth. The scope of the survey should enable astronomers to get a thorough picture of stellar formation: it contains about 8,000 star clusters and 39 million individual stars at least five times more massive than the Sun. Messier 96 is about 35 million lightyears from Earth and is about the same mass as the Milky Way. Stars are being born within the dark filaments in the spiral arms, and these youngsters glow bright…

1 min
interstellar immigrant found in outer solar system

An asteroid in the outer Solar System may have been born around another star before emigrating to our Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, it has recently been determined. The extrasolar origins of asteroid 2015 BZ509 became apparent when astronomers discovered that although its orbit crosses that of Jupiter, it is moving in the opposite – or retrograde – direction. “How the asteroid came to move in this way while sharing Jupiter’s orbit has until now been a mystery,” says Fathi Namouni from the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, who led the study. “If 2015 BZ509 were a native of our system, it should have had the same original direction as all of the other planets and asteroids, inherited from the cloud of gas and dust that formed them.” Instead it’s thought…

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The story of the Solar System is recorded in its small bodies, which is why there is such excitement about New Horizons’ upcoming encounter with ‘Ultima Thule’ in the Kuiper Belt. BZ509’s unique orbit suggests it has a similarly fascinating story to tell. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily interstellar. This recent study uses simulations that merely show its current orbit has been stable over billions of years, and so it’s reasonable to assume it’s been there since our Solar System was forming. The team argues that this ancient history makes an interstellar origin likely, but I’d bet that maybe BZ509 just got lucky, finding the perfect conditions for this weird orbit. There might be other smaller bodies following similar paths that we just haven’t seen yet. Further study of this fascinating object…