Astronomy June 2021

The world's best-selling astronomy magazine offers you the most exciting, visually stunning, and timely coverage of the heavens above. Each monthly issue includes expert science reporting, vivid color photography, complete sky coverage, spot-on observing tips, informative telescope reviews, and much more! All this in a user-friendly style that's perfect for astronomers at any level.

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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2 minutos
earth is a planet too!

Many years ago, in the hallways at AstroMedia Corp., our then-editor Richard Berry had a saying. When one of the team questioned whether we should be covering earth science, Richard snapped back with, “Earth is a planet too!” And of course, he was right. As we walk around on Earth, sometimes we overlook what a perfect laboratory it is for understanding planetary science. Earth gives us the greatest insight we have into the formation and evolution of rocky planets in the solar system. As much as we look outward toward Mars to build a picture of the solar system’s past, perhaps of the rarity or commonality of life itself, we also look inward at Earth in many ways. Senior Associate Editor Alison Klesman’s story on page 16 details the latest research on…

2 minutos
astro letters

Voyager 2 slingshot I was reading the article from the December issue, “The mystery and majesty of the ice giants,” and I think I came across an error. If the decision to direct Voyager 2 to the ice giants was made in 1981, which was also the year it flew by Saturn, wouldn’t it be Saturn that Voyager got the slingshot “kick” from, not Jupiter as stated? I realize it received a slingshot from both, but in the context of what was being said there, it was Saturn that was utilized for the final directing towards Uranus and Neptune. — Matt Skinner, Livermore, CA Associate Editor Caitlyn Buongiorno answers: Three years before launch, the planners proposed that if Voyager 1 was successful, Voyager 2 would be redirected to Uranus and Neptune, taking advantage of…

1 minutos
probe peers under venus’ atmosphere

The Parker Solar Probe is on a seven-year journey to get up close and personal with the Sun. On its way, it’s making regular flybys of Venus, using the planet’s gravity to direct the probe’s orbit closer to our star. Its wide-field camera captured this view of Venus’ nightside during its third flyby, in July 2020, at a mere 7,700 miles (12,400 kilometers) from the planet. From its position above the thick venusian clouds, the NASA craft detected a fluorescent rim around the edge of Venus. But the team was stunned to see that the image also captured a surface feature: a prominent dark area in the center of the planet, known as Aphrodite Terra. The Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) is designed to image the Sun’s corona and inner…

1 minutos
hot bytes

APTLY NAMED Astronomers have confirmed the orbit of 2018 AG37, the most distant object ever observed in the solar system. Nicknamed “Farfarout,” the 250-milewide (400 kilometers) planetoid is currently at 132 times the Earth-Sun distance, or nearly four times farther from the Sun than Pluto. NEWBORN PULSE Energetic X-rays emerging from the remnant of supernova SN 1987A suggest that a pulsar — a rapidly spinning neutron star emitting beams of radio waves — lies hidden in the debris. If confirmed, it would be the youngest pulsar ever found. LAST GASP The IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole has captured a neutrino — a tiny, chargeless particle — emitted when a star was ripped apart and swallowed by a supermassive black hole 700 million lightyears away. It’s the first neutrino observed from such an event.…

1 minutos
a nearby exoplanet with an earth-like atmosphere

Today, astronomers know of thousands of planets orbiting other stars. But relatively few of these worlds are considered Earth-like. Among those that are, studying their atmospheres is difficult because rocky planets have only a thin envelope of air surrounding them. Thus, Earth-like atmospheres must meet stringent criteria to render them observable, even with upcoming telescopes like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope or the next generation of extremely large ground-based telescopes. But a newly discovered rocky super-Earth 26 light-years away could fit the bill. The planet, dubbed Gliese 486b, was identified by members of the CARMENES (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs) consortium. Further scrutiny revealed the planet is 2.8 times more massive and 30 percent larger than Earth. Gliese 486b orbits an M dwarf,…

1 minutos
stellar tantrum

Stellar nurseries are scattered throughout the Milky Way. Inside these clouds of gas and dust, dense regions of matter condense until finally collapsing to form a protostar. Leftover material then creates a rotating, flattened disk around the fledgling star. At this stage, material is still raining down on the hungry star. The star’s feeding frenzy can eject additional superheated matter far into space. In this image, a central newborn star is blowing out gas and dust to distances of around 10 light-years at speeds of over 93 miles (150 kilometers) per second. Bright shock waves, referred to as Herbig-Haro objects, are seen where those outflows strike the surrounding gas in the nebula. ESA/HUBBLE & NASA, B. NISINI…