Astronomy Magazine – June 2009

The June 2009 issue of Astronomy has been published! Featured are articles on how we could see another universe, celestial sphere, Astrocombing, Milky Way, Adam Block imaging, summer solstice, and EON refractor.

How we could see another universe
Our universe may form one bubble of many in a vast multiverse. Cosmologists are now searching for signs of another bubble universe colliding with ours.

Illustrated: How we see the sky
Astronomers use a concept called the celestial sphere to understand the sky and its motions.

New technique closes in on dark energy
Astrocombing will revolutionize cosmologists’ method of measuring cosmic expansion.

Adam Block’s awesome universe
From an Arizona mountaintop, Adam Block introduces amateur astronomers to cutting-edge imaging.

Explore the Gem of the Milky Way
Summer’s Scutum Star Cloud holds numerous observing treats for any size telescope.

Discover the sky’s deepest, darkest secrets
Over three dark nights in southern Arizona, two observers track down dozens of the sky’s most exotic objects.

Orion’s low-cost APO delivers sharp images
The new EON refractor is affordable, portable, and well-built.

Bob Berman’s Strange Universe
How much solstice can you handle? June, of course, brings the summer solstice. It’s one of the few links between sky and Earth that still makes the evening news. Ask friends what happens June 21, and they’re likely to get it right, mostly. Longest day — check. Sun highest up — check. Sun moves through the sky along its most curving path — hmm, what? That one’s not widely known.

Glenn Chaple’s Observing Basics
An imperfect Moon – What was the first sky object you ever targeted with a telescope? If you’re typical of most backyard astronomers, you chose the Moon. Brightest and easiest to find of the night sky’s many offerings, Earth’s only natural satellite is the perfect destination for that maiden telescopic voyage. Four centuries ago (November 30, 1609, by most accounts), Galileo launched his astronomical career by observing the Moon with a homebuilt refractor.

David H. Levy’s Evening Stars
A David Levy sky – Almost 40 years ago, Joan-Ellen Rosenthal was riding in a car down a lonely country road near Enid, Oklahoma, with her then-husband. They were lost. “We know we have to go south,” Joan said to her husband. He stopped the car, and Joan got out, looked around, then got back in. “I just found the Big Dipper. From there I found the North Star. We have to take the next right to head south.” Her husband was flabbergasted. “Only you know how to navigate by the stars,” he said as they were on their way.

The Sky this Month
Venus blazes before dawn – Both inner planets gather in June’s morning sky. Mercury and, in particular, Venus put on fine displays as twilight commences. The warm evenings typical of June offer great conditions to show off the solar system’s most beautiful planet, Saturn. Go ahead and invite some neighbors over for their first view of the ringed planet through a telescope. Meanwhile, the overnight hours belong to Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Ask Astro
Meteorite impacts and martian volcanoes
Could the meteorite that formed the Hellas Basin on Mars have triggered the volcanic eruptions on the other side of the planet that created Olympus Mons?

Starlight, how bright?
In stellar magnitude estimates, why do larger numbers represent dimmer objects? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Zodiacal insights
The constellation Ophiuchus lies partly on the ecliptic, so why isn’t it considered one of the zodiacal signs?

The galactic bar scene
How do the bars in barred spirals form?

Dark matters
Could large numbers of black holes account for much of the “dark matter” estimated to exist in our universe?

Stephen James O’Meara’s Secret Sky
Fireballs from the Scorpion – One activity I have long enjoyed this time of year is a fireball watch. If you’re the kind of observer who can get excited about seeing one or two of these flaming “stars” in a month, then join me in trying to catch some Scorpiid meteors. They may be few, but they sure can be bright!


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