Sky & Telescope's November 2012 issue is now available to digital subscribers. Some print subscribers may have already received it, and it's officially on-sale at newsstands starting October 2nd.
In the late hours of August 5th, the editors of S&T were holding their breath along with spectators around the world. The landing of the Curiosity rover, the most advanced robot to land on Mars, was just hours away. And a Rube Goldberg-ian set of events needed to unfold in just the right order for the landing to be successful.
We were not disappointed. The landing went off without a hitch, and within days Curiosity had snapped spectacular images of its surroundings. The rover even used a laser to zap its first rock, a trick that will come in handy for learning about the chemical properties of Gale Crater. In November’s cover story, Emily Lakdawalla gives an in-depth view of Curiosity’s first days on Mars, as well as the rover's long-term mission. Pick up the issue to learn more about how the layered terrain of Mount Sharp, Curiosity’s primary target, will reveal our red neighbor’s history, and its ability to support life.
Also in this issue is the fascinating tale of eclipse maps through history, written by renowned map-maker Michael Zeiler. Going back as far as 1654, eclipse maps demonstrate cartographers' growing knowledge of astronomy, math and geography. The result is a beautiful gallery of maps that combine fine art and striking precision — a chronological record of advances in our understanding of Earth and the system it lives in.
In our Observing section, Fred Schaaf writes eloquently about how connecting Earth and sky can enrich an observing session, a philosophy that is echoed in Babak A. Tafreshi's astrophotography how-to article on shooting nightscapes.
And don't miss out on treats in the early morning sky: Venus and Saturn will greet November's observers. The other planets put on good shows too, not least of which include the continued upheaval in Jupiter's two most prominent dark belts.
Info on new CCD cameras for beginning astrophotographers, a guide to finding some fantastic faint fuzzies, and the naming of planetary features all await you in our November issue.
To find out more, read our online Table of Contents.