Astronomy magazine editors share their unique insight from behind the scenes of the science, hobby, and magazine.
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Where are the extraterrestrials?

Posted 1 hours ago by Alison Klesman
By Richard Talcott While discussing the possibility of intelligent life in the universe over lunch with his fellow scientists, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi asked the simple question: “Where are they?” The line came to be known as the “Fermi Paradox,” and the argument boils down to this: If the universe is teeming with life, and some reasonable percentage of that life has developed advanced technology, then these civilizations should have populated our cor...
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How the Sun creates asteroids

Posted 23 hours ago by Alison Klesman
By Richard Talcott From its position at the center of the solar system, the Sun spews harsh radiation and energetic particles whose effects are felt well beyond the realm of the planets. In most cases, these emissions are forces of destruction, but not always. On Wednesday at the 49th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Provo, Utah, Apostolos Christou of the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in Northern Ireland showed how sunlight can be creative. Christou and his team ...
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Small bodies loom large

Posted yesterday by Alison Klesman
By Richard Talcott As their name implies, planetary scientists spend much of their time studying the biggest bodies in the Sun’s family: the planets and their large moons. But on Tuesday at the 49th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Provo, Utah, researchers turned some of their attention to the smaller bodies in our solar system. Vishnu Reddy of the University of Arizona reported on his team’s observations of Earth’s quasi-satellite, 2016 HO3. Althoug...
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Saturn takes center stage

Posted 3 days ago by Alison Klesman
By Richard Talcott While most of the astronomical world spent Monday celebrating the incredible discovery of two neutron stars merging, planetary scientists held their own celebration. On the first day of the 49th Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah, scientists with the Cassini mission to Saturn reported on the latest discoveries to come from the spacecraft before it plunged into the ringed planet’s atmosphere a month ago. During Cassini’s “Grand Finale,&...
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Could Planet Nine really exist?

Posted 14 days ago by Jake Parks
All right, I know. I was extremely skeptical too. And I’m still not completely sold. But I have to admit that the evidence is mounting. There just may be a so-called Planet Nine lingering in the dark, icy graveyard that is our outer solar system.  And if it’s there, its subtle influence could help explain some of our solar system’s most mysterious characteristics — like the highly elliptical orbits of comets and asteroids, or the slight tilt of the plane of our sol...
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Guest blog: What is the International Planetarium Society up to?

Posted 17 days ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Ruth Coalson  International Planetarium Society, Inc. Organization Profile  The International Planetarium Society, Inc. (IPS) is the global members association of planetarium professionals. We currently have 700 members from 51 countries around the world.  The primary goal of the Society is to encourage the sharing of ideas among its members through conferences, publications, and networking. By sharing their insights and creative work, IPS members become better planetarium...
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Day 1 of the Advanced Imaging Conference featured VENDORS

Posted 20 days ago by Michael Bakich
The 2017 incarnation of the Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) is now in full swing at the San Jose Convention Center in California. Bob Fera, one of the event’s organizers, told me that more than 350 people are attending. [br] “We wondered if we’d have good attendance because the recent total solar eclipse was somewhat of a drain on people’s time and money,” Fera said. “So we’re happy that so many imagers are joining us. In fact, 25 or so of them signe...
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Previewing the Advanced Imaging Conference 2017

Posted 22 days ago by Michael Bakich
The tenth annual Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) promises to be the best one yet. The 2017 event is being held at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California, September 29–October 1. For the eighth straight year, Astronomy magazine is proud to be an editorial sponsor. And I will be there. AIC for 2017 will feature more than two dozen workshops and general session presentations, all to help attendees master the art of astroimaging. This year’s speakers include regular As...
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One asteroid at a time? Nah.

Posted 28 days ago by Jake Parks
Asteroids are some of the oldest and most undisturbed objects in our solar system. These miniaturized, rocky worlds have been—for the most part—peacefully orbiting the Sun since the formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago. It’s estimated that over a million of the floating boulders are crowded together in the main asteroid belt, located about halfway between Mars and Jupiter. And every once in a while, one of them gets bumped out of orbit. But, over the cour...
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Astronomy’s Mars globe brings our celestial neighbor to your desk

Posted 29 days ago by Nicole Kiefert
Explore more than 200 of the Red Planet’s amazing features By Leah Froats Our human fascination with the Red Planet traces back to the 19th century, carrying on unwavering to the modern day. Of course, when the first Mariner spacecraft visited Mars in the 1960s, it found a desolate world. Ideas about martians faded away. But numerous spacecraft over the past 50-plus years, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have uncovered an amazing planet that tells us a lot about the solar syst...
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Guest Blog: The ExoLife Finder: A next-generation telescope for imaging exoplanets

Posted one month ago by Alison Klesman
By Jake Parks A few years back, a group of astronomers put forth a proposal for a beast of a telescope—The Colossus. At 77 meters in diameter, the Colossus telescope would have been nearly eight times the diameter of Hawaii’s Keck Observatory, currently one of the largest ground-based observatories in the world. And since a telescope’s light-gathering power increases by the square of its diameter, the Colossus telescope would have also had a whopping 60 times the resolution...
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Creating contagious STEM interest: The Adler Planetarium's Celestial Ball

Posted one month ago by Alison Klesman
Fundraising galas are a great opportunity to pull out your best formalwear, meet amazing people, and support a fantastic cause — like inspiring future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. That’s exactly what took place this past weekend at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and, to me, the very model of modern and engaging public science programming. I grew up in a south suburb of Chicago and went there often when I was younge...
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Guest blog: Observe the Moon in Augmented Reality

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
You’ve Got the Whole Moon in Your Hands By Leah Froats Ever wanted to hold the Moon in the palm of your hand? Well, now you can … sort of. AstroReality, a branch of Quantum Technologies, now offers an augmented reality (AR), 3D printed lunar model that allows for exploration of the Moon’s notable features and landing sites. Astronomy received the LUNAR Pro model, AstroReality’s most advanced Moon model, for review — here are our thoughts. The model Accordin...
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Guest blog: Portrait of the Milky Way Galaxy poster

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
by Sharona Lomberg The One Earth Message Project announces that in cooperation with Astronomy magazine, we are offering FOR THE FIRST TIME ANYWHERE a new poster of a famous work of space art: a revised version of Jon Lomberg’s classic Portrait of the Milky Way mural commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Since its creation in 1992, this has been considered one of the most accurate depictions of our Milky Way Galaxy ever made—and now there i...
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Talks Announced for the Darkest Sky Star Party

Posted one month ago by Michael Bakich
On Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14, Dark Sky New Mexico (DSNM) and The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) will host a star party in southwestern New Mexico. The second America’s Darkest Sky Star Party will occur in Animas, New Mexico, a lovely area dominated by antique silver mining that now boasts one of the best skies in the world for stargazing. Along with a clear dark sky, one of the highlights of any star party is the lectures that attendees hear. And this star party will...
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The OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft will Slingshot Past Earth

Posted one month ago by Michael Bakich
I just received an email from Dolores Hill, Senior Research Specialist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson about an important date in OSIRIS-REx’s life. She reminded me that tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the OSIRIS-REx launch from Cape Canaveral. And she thought I might like to post the following. Thanks, Dolores, I would. In preparation for the spacecraft’s Earth Gravity Assist Maneuver on September 22, the mission invites amateur astronomers and the public...
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Donate your used eclipse glasses!

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
Maybe you were one of the people scrambling at the last minute to find eclipse glasses for the Great American Eclipse on August 21, or maybe you were prepared and preordered your glasses.  But now that the eclipse has come and gone, are you wondering what to do with that coveted protective eyewear? An eclipse is coming to South America and Asia in 2019 and now Astronomers Without Borders, along with their corporate partner Explore Scientific, is collecting those used eclipse glasses to ...
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Guest blog: 9 Reasons to Reserve Your Southern Skies Party Spot Today

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Leah Froats Do you need something to look forward to in 2018? Or maybe you’re in search of exciting plans for next March? Perhaps you’d be interested in the inviting tropical climate, spectacular natural scenery, and abundant wildlife of Costa Rica? And, of course, the opportunity to attend our 15th annual Southern Skies Party at Astronomy’s private star lodge on the Gulf of Nicoya, just a 2.5-hour flight from Miami, Florida.  If that’s not enough to tempt yo...
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Guest blog: The BLAsT Class and Earth's Space Weather Forecast

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Abby Stephens and Keegan Engelking What is the first thing you think of when someone says space weather? Is it raining storms with zero gravity with rain drops going every direction? Or is it flashing interstellar clouds with space lightning? Although it is neat to daydream about space weather being this way, the reality is very different from these depictions. Dr. Patricia Reiff, a professor from Rice University specializing in space plasma and magnetospheric physics, took us on a jour...
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Guest blog: The BLAsT Class Sees Double with Graeme Jenkinson

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Zoe Pappas and Jeffrey Berg  We had the honor of hosting Graeme Jenkinson, who was visiting Wyoming all the way from Australia, for a presentation about observing double stars on a tight time budget.  Unlike many of our speakers, Jenkinson is an amateur astronomer that does not have the luxury of observing full-time, or even for more than a few hours a week. He explained that double stars are a great way to do some observing that will provide useful data, parti...
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A dozen reasons you should join us at the Darkest Skies Star Party

Posted one month ago by Michael Bakich
On Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14, Dark Sky New Mexico (DSNM) and The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) will host a star party in southwestern New Mexico. The second America’s Darkest Sky Star Party will occur in Animas, New Mexico, a lovely area dominated by antique silver mining that now boasts one of the best skies in the world for stargazing. Astronomy magazine Editor David Eicher and Senior Editor Michael Bakich, well known astronomy personalities, will be your hosts to...
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Guest Blog: The BLAsT Class Learns to "Move it Like Moana"

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By David Collicott and Gaby Loredo  Astronomy in Moana? That’s what we thought. But Dr. Stephanie Slater gave us a lesson on the movie’s traditional Polynesian water navigation and its relation to the stars. Through the stars rise and set times, their altitude, and their relation to the stars around them, the ancient navigators were able to tell their location with great accuracy and purposely move from tiny island to tiny island in the vast Pacific Ocean. Dr. Slater did an am...
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Guest Blog: The Bucket List Astronomy Class Tour, Planetary Nebulae, and the No-Worries Shelf

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Sandy Ackman and Benjamin Blume While we were staying at the Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp in Casper, Wyoming, we heard from Dr. James’ doppelganger, Dr. Stacy Palen who specializes in planetary nebulae. These are the shells ejected from low-mass dying stars, something the Sun will become in about 5 billion years. If there’s one thing you can say about Dr. Palen, it’s that she is passionate about her science. She actually startled one of the classmates when she got...
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Guest Blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class prepares for Astronomy O.W.L. exams

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Diane Brewer and Tyler Coleman Disclaimer: If you’re not up on your Harry Potter trivia, some of this may not make sense. If you’re lost, you could try the Marauder’s Map. Otherwise, Google is your friend. He looked panicked as he ran in and out of the room. “Has anyone seen Aurora?! Does anyone know where Professor Sinistra went?!!” These aren’t exactly the words anyone would expect to come out of their presenter’s mouth, but this is precisely ho...
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Guest blog: The BLAsT Class Witnesses a Total Eclipse

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By: Maya Fitch and Rayne Horton  Today, August 21, 2017, our class along with millions of other individuals witnessed the Total Solar Eclipse. There are no words to describe how incredible the experience was, but if we had to put the eclipse into words a few would be: amazing, astonishing, unbelievable, out-of-this world (pun intended), and magical. As we said before, there are no true words to define the event we saw. We had clear skies and great binoculars to see this magnificent e...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class: Revisiting Einstein

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Jacob Ackman and Remy Shelton  At our camp, we heard from Dr. Don Bruns, a retired physicist who is taking it upon himself to finish an experiment that has not been successfully reproduced since 1919: Observing the bending of starlight during a total eclipse. Bruns discovered a passion for astronomy at an early age. In high school, he was performing his own research projects, keeping up to date on astronomical topics by reading magazines and networking with others in the field.  ...
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A total eclipse in southern Illinois

Posted one month ago by Alison Klesman
Like many Americans lucky enough to live in or travel to the path of totality on August 21, I witnessed my very first total solar eclipse. For me, this historic event took place in southern Illinois, nearly 400 miles from Astronomy’s offices in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It was not only a moving experience, but an exciting and fun one as well. My journey began Sunday afternoon; I’d driven down to my father’s house in a south suburb of Chicago the day before. Just before we left, t...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class: A Tale of Two Eclipses

Posted one month ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Cristal Hernandez and Aliyah Mohammed After two weeks in Australia filled with pulsars, radio astronomy, southern constellations, the Dish, black holes, and gravitational waves (AND KANGAROOS!!), the BLAsT class made its way up to Casper, Wyoming. On our first day there, Martin Ratcliffe (Professional Development Director for SkySkan, adjunct faculty member at Wichita State University, and contributing editor for Astronomy magazine), gave us a tale of two eclipses. The two eclipses were bo...
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Images from the Great American Eclipse

Posted one month ago by Michael Bakich
It's the morning after the big event, and images are already coming in. Here are a few of the early birds. If you took an image you're proud of, please send it to ReaderGallery@Astronomy.com. It might appear in a blog or an online gallery, and we might publish it in the magazine. You never know. Now, how long until the next total solar eclipse?  ...
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Amazing interest in the eclipse continues

Posted 2 months ago by Michael Bakich
St. Joseph, Missouri, is generating lots of buzz related to Monday’s upcoming total solar eclipse, and everyone seems to have been aware of it for some time. My wife and I started chatting with Donna Wilson, an area nurse, about the great event while waiting in line to order breakfast at Brioche, a local French restaurant. When we did order, we discovered that Donna who was part of a group of businesswomen, had paid for our meal (which was delicious, by the way). “This is a way to sa...

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