Astronomy magazine editors share their unique insight from behind the scenes of the science, hobby, and magazine.
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Downsizing the Astro library

Posted 15 days ago by Michael Bakich
In the past several weeks Astronomy’s Editor, Dave Eicher, and I have gone through the roughly 7,500 books in the magazine’s library. As you might imagine in a field as rapidly changing as astronomy, many of those books, which we began to acquire in the 1980s, are seriously out of date. So, we are downsizing. This idea actually grew out of a process, during the past year, where the staff of the many magazines here at Kalmbach Media consolidated into one-half of our building. The ide...
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Tippy D'Auria passes away

Posted 15 days ago by Michael Bakich
Astronomy Contributing Editor Mike Reynolds just sent me this sad note: The founder of the Winter Star Party, Tippy D’Auria, has passed away just shy of 83.D’Auria and his wife Patty had the idea of a southern Florida winter observing event, somewhat like other star parties of the era. They went to the board of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society in Miami, and received permission to do the event. The Winter Star Party was established in 1984, with the first few held in the Everg...
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Make astronomy part of your summer travel

Posted 22 days ago by Alison Klesman
Mars opposition is coming — you’ve likely heard that several times this month (and week) already. What this means is that now (and the next few months) is a great time to get out there and view our neighboring world at its biggest and brightest. It won’t be this big and bright again until 2035. If you’re bummed about the planet-wide dust storm raging across the Red Planet, which will unfortunately obscure many of its more detailed features, consider that Mars is still ...
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A roundup of Comic-Con

Posted 22 days ago by Michael Bakich
The world’s greatest pop-culture convention is over for this year. San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2018 — the 49th incarnation of this great event — started Thursday, July 19, and ran through Sunday the 22nd. Actually, a preview night occurred Wednesday, July 18, for professionals, exhibitors, and press. And, once again, that was me. Press. I was there for the whole shebang, met some wonderful people, and experienced lots of great events. Comic-Con started in 1970 as a three-day ga...
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An interview with Andy Weir

Posted 22 days ago by Michael Bakich
If you’ve read my blog about the 2018 version of San Diego Comic-Con, you know that science was well represented. While I was there, I had the chance to chat with Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Artemis, his latest book. You’ll find my interview with Andy here. // <div>Please enable Javascript to watch this video</div>...
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See the new COSMOS season 2 trailer

Posted 22 days ago by Michael Bakich
On July 21, FOX and National Geographic released a first look at the highly anticipated return of the Emmy Award-winning worldwide phenomenon COSMOS. Executive producer/writer/director Ann Druyan (who won an Emmy Award for writing the 2014 series and a Peabody Award for producing it) and executive producers Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, The Orville, COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey), Brannon Braga (The Orville, COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey, Terra Nova) and Jason Clark (The Orville, COSMOS: A Space...
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Guest Blog: Blazars - A multi-wavelength look at the objects behind the first neutrino traced back to a deep-space source

Posted 23 days ago by Alison Klesman
By Angela Osterman Meyer Perhaps the most amazing aspect of studying astronomy is that in solving one mystery of the cosmos you find far more questions than answers; the adventure never ends. The distant and ultra-luminous objects known as blazars perfectly embody this. At right is a blazar (looking bright white) surrounded by nearby stars in an image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.  Which brings us to the first mystery of blazars: What made astronomers think...
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Guest Blog: Writers of Sweek.com hail Asteroid Day with literature!

Posted one month ago by Alison Klesman
By Chinthaka Nanayakkara For Russian dwellers to the northwest of Lake Baikal, that unforgettable morning in 1908 must have dawned just like any other ordinary morning, calm and tranquil. But after 7 A.M., it was anything but ordinary, calm or tranquil. Only few natives spotted the blinding blue streak of light that zipped across their skies, but the deafening explosion that echoed from the faraway depths of the forest was clearly heard by almost everyone in the vicinity.   Then c...
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Learn to process images like the pros

Posted one month ago by Michael Bakich
Wanna learn how to process your carefully taken astroimages? Longtime Astronomy magazine image contributors Warren Keller and Ron Brecher are teaming up to present a pair of 3-day workshops. The first will be in Mesa, Arizona, September 21-23. Learn more about it, including the full agenda — 18 hours of PixInsight training — here. The second workshop will be held September 28-30 in Lake Forest, California. Click here for all the details. You might want to make up your mind quickly....
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Get ready for Galactic Tick Day!

Posted one month ago by Alison Klesman
When you think about the solar system, chances are you picture the planets orbiting the Sun. But that’s only part of the story — our solar system, including the Sun, is also orbiting the center of the Milky Way, the galaxy in which we reside. While a single orbit of Earth around the Sun takes a mere 365 days, a single orbit of the Sun (and the rest of our solar system, along with it) around the Milky Way takes nearly 230 million years. It is that journey — the trip our plane...
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A new book by Stephen James O'Meara

Posted 2 months ago by Michael Bakich
Diamonds in the Sky: Discover the Stars Over Botswana, is the latest book from famed observer and Astronomy columnist Stephen James O’Meara. And despite “Botswana” being part of the title, this Kindle e-book is a great introduction to what’s up at night. Steve wrote this book as a “first step” guide, meaning that it’s filled with basic information to help you learn your way around the night sky in a casual manner. He designed it to be used any time of y...
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Spotlight on the state of women in STEM: The 2018 Women in Technology Summit

Posted 2 months ago by Alison Klesman
I’m back with more excellent news for women in STEM. Why do I keep posting about this topic? Well, it’s an important one — there’s still a huge gender gap that studies show is going to take a long time to fix. That gap is due to many reasons, of course, but among them are the state of the support women in these fields receive, and the fulfillment they get from pursing careers in these industries. This weekend, Women in Technology International (WITI) began its 24th ann...
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The 232nd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Day 3

Posted 2 months ago by Jake Parks
Hello! I’m back again, checking in on the third and final full day of activities at the 232rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. It’s been an amazing week so far, with plenty to do and plenty to see, and today was certainly no exception. I’ve been shotgunned by astronomical science this week, so we’ll be diving into plenty of intriguing research and news in the days and weeks that follow. But for now, let’s explore some of the highlights from today, whi...
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The 232nd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Day 2

Posted 2 months ago by Jake Parks
Welcome back! Today was the second full day of pure astronomical bliss here at the American Astronomical Society’s summer meeting. Yet again, the day was bursting with exciting presentations, exhibits, and conferences, so let’s dive right in with some highlights. Creating the cosmos in a lab To kick off the day, I sipped my morning coffee while attending the Laboratory Astrophysics Division’s Plenary Lecture: Small Interstellar Molecules and What They Tell Us. The lecture, ...
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The 232nd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Day 1

Posted 2 months ago by Jake Parks
Hello from Denver, Colorado, home to the 232nd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society! Though many attendees arrived Sunday evening for this year’s AAS winter meeting, the festivities did not swing into full gear until bright and early Monday morning. But once they did, oh, what a whirlwind day it was. After first grabbing a quick cup of coffee and browsing a number of research projects during the early morning poster session, I took my seat in preparation for the welcome address ...
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Take your astrophotography to the next level with this 90-minute tutorial

Posted 2 months ago by Alison Klesman
Astrophotography has become more and more accessible over the years. As technology improves and both equipment and programs are increasingly available for lower prices, many amateur astronomers have been drawn to the excitement, challenge, and sense of accomplishment that comes from capturing a beautiful image of the night sky for yourself. But while basic astrophotography has certainly become easier to perform, the image processing that can help you achieve breathtaking images like the ones ...
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The Adler Planetarium's latest Kavli Fulldome lecture explores our planetary experiment

Posted 2 months ago by Alison Klesman
We are all living in a giant science experiment — an experiment with no control group, which has never been performed before, and will never be performed again in exactly the same way. Our “planetary experiment” is taking place right here, every day, on Earth, and we have the ability to affect its outcome. In fact, part of that outcome has already been determined by those who have come before us, and we hold in our hands the power to impact the future of generations of humans...
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Mark your calendars: June 23 is the 9th Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall

Posted 2 months ago by Amber Jorgenson
[UPDATE: The event's location has been changed to northwest of the Washington Monument; 17th St. NW and Constitution Ave. 15th St. has been changed to 17th St. due to renovation.] Can you think of a better way to celebrate the summer solstice than by hanging out with astronomers and taking a guided tour of our magnificent solar system? Didn't think so.The longest day of the year will be commemorated with the 9th Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall (AFNM) on Saturday, June 23, 20...
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Guest Blog: Revisiting the definition of a planet

Posted 3 months ago by Alison Klesman
This guest blog was written by Laurel Kornfeld in response to an opinion piece recently published on Forbes.com. You can read Laurel's additional guest blog on our site,"The case for planet Pluto," here.  Ethan Siegel’s May 8, 2018 article, “You Won’t Like the Consequences of Making Pluto a Planet Again” is rife with misconceptions about the geophysical planet definition supported by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon in their May 7 Washington Post article. ...
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A new nebula (halo) around IC 2220

Posted 3 months ago by Michael Bakich
One of our readers, Josep Drudis, who also is an avid astroimager, just sent me this report of a discovery he made. Nice work, Josep!   IC 2220 is usually known as the Toby Jug Nebula. This is, apparently, due to its resemblance to a specific kind of jug that depicts characters. Nobody knows whether “Toby” had a special face shape that inspired the astronomers who named it. The red-orange IC 2220 is, strange as it may sound, a reflection nebula. There are few known red-orange...
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Look to the Universe this May 16, the International Day of Light

Posted 3 months ago by Alison Klesman
Next week, the world will celebrate the first ever International Day of Light. A global initiative established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO), the Day of Light is meant to turn our attention toward light and its role in our lives, from science and education to art, medicine, communications, and more. The inaugural celebration will take place in Paris and the opening ceremony will feature something special: a performance by soprano Katerina Mi...
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The Adler Planetarium honors Rosaly Lopes

Posted 3 months ago by Alison Klesman
Planetary science is the study of planets, satellites, and other small bodies in our solar system; and, in recent decades, those in other solar systems as well. Planetary scientists have the unique ability to send probes to better study or even physically touch their targets, while astronomers and astrophysicists are limited to peering at faraway objects they will never reach. Planetary science and planetary geology can be done right at home, here on Earth, by studying our own planet, as well ...
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One Strange Rock: Jerry Linenger shares a comet and a new perspective on Earth

Posted 4 months ago by Alison Klesman
Our planet sure has taken a beating to get here, and it’s still not easy to maintain an environment ideal for life. Massive, planet-changing collisions have rocked our world, while manmade chemicals have threatened the tenuous layer of molecules responsible for protecting our cells from the damaging UV rays thrown out by our parent star. Throughout it all, our planet has persevered, creating a place we can safely call home. Tonight, National Geographic will premiere the third episode of...
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Green Bank Observatory's PING summer camp is now accepting applications

Posted 4 months ago by Alison Klesman
Summer camp is a great way to make friends, enjoy the outdoors… and take part in amazing STEM activities at the Green Bank Observatory. That’s right — applications are currently being accepted now through May 16 for the Physics Inspiring the Next Generation! PING Camp 2018, which takes place July 15-21, 2018. Students who are currently 8th graders (rising 9th graders) are invited to apply for this unique experience, which aims to improve diversity in the STEM fields: scienc...
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The Great American Eclipse in Motion

Posted 4 months ago by Jake Parks
During last year's total solar eclipse (also known as the Great American Eclipse), Matt Francis captured a series of wide- and narrow-angle images that he later spent dozens of hours balancing and merging into a single image. Shortly after, he learned of a software program that allows you to add motion to an otherwise still photograph. Using the program, he was able to produce this animated image that simulates the movement of the Sun's corona during the total solar eclipse. // Matt Francis Gue...
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National Geographic's One Strange Rock will change your view of Earth forever

Posted 4 months ago by Alison Klesman
One of the hottest topics in astronomy today is the search for and study of exoplanets. Since the confirmation in 1992 that our solar system is not unique in the universe, astronomers have striven to find more exotic, more difficult-to-see, and, simply put, more exoplanets. This search is extremely important, because it helps us answer the question of how we got here — how our solar system formed, how our planets were born, and how they have evolved (and will evolve) over time. But amid...
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Send your letters to Lovell through the Adler Planetarium

Posted 4 months ago by Alison Klesman
When Apollo 13 came out on video — yep, I own it on actual VHS — I parked myself in front of the TV and watched it several (like... in the vicinity of 10) times over the course of the next few weeks. I had just started high school, and was in a phase that included learning everything I possibly could about our space program. I wanted to be an engineer or an astronaut; I went on to attend NASA’s Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama, twice over the next four years, and too...
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Guest Blog: Chilean skies through the camera lens

Posted 5 months ago by Alison Klesman
By Matthew Dieterich www.MDieterichPhoto.com Instagram: @mattdieterichphotography Click on the links in the text for extra images and larger versions of those shown here.  I have been passionate about astronomy and night sky photography since 2006. Over those 12 years, I became fascinated with the most advanced telescopes in the world. During that time I found education and outreach to be an excellent medium for me to share my passion for astrophotography with the general public....
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A closer look at the TRAPPIST-1 system

Posted 5 months ago by Jake Parks
The planets around TRAPPIST-1 are being bombarded by tremendously strong stellar winds. This partially strips them of their atmospheres and poses a real threat to any potential life within the system. Guest blog by Sharmila Kuthunur The discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system has brought to light a new avenue for discovering Earth-like planets — and maybe even life — around otherwise unexplored ultracool dwarf stars. The existence of life around these stars, however, depends greatly on...
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CuriosityStream honors Hawking by sharing his series with all viewers

Posted 5 months ago by Alison Klesman
Not long ago, I was given the opportunity to preview and review CuriosityStream’s Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places 2. This whimsical-yet-scientifically-based adventure through the solar system and beyond took viewers along for the ride as Hawking, in his spaceship of the same name, explored Earth and its place in the cosmos — and ended on a cliffhanger. Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places is one of Hawking’s last works; in honor of his life and legacy, CuriosityStr...

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