Sky & Telescope's April 2011 issue is now available to digital subscribers. It will ship to print subscribers during the next week, and is officially on-sale at newsstands starting March 1st.

Click here to read the latest issue if you're a digital subscriber.

Click here to find out more about digital subscriptions.

Orion rises above the Himalaya

Orion rises above the High Himalaya as a mountain fog retreats into the valley.

Babak A. Tafreshi

As a hiker, former mountain climber, and frequent visitor to South Asia, my favorite article in this issue is Babak Tafreshi's stunning pictorial of the night sky over Nepal's Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world. But there's more to this article than pretty pictures. Babak isn't just the motive force behind The World at Night website. He's also a founding member of Astronomers Without Borders, which aims to bring people together all over the world through a common appreciation of the night sky. The star parties that Babak gave in Nepal's towns and cities are as fascinating as the skies over its mountains.

April 2011 S&T

April 2011 S&T

The cover article is equally interesting, in a completely different way. You surely know that exoplanets are now being discovered in record numbers. But do you know that not all stars are alike when it comes to making planets? Find out which kinds of stars are most likely to host planets, and what this tells us about the process through which planets are formed.

Yet another article with personal interest for me is "Photometry for All in the Digital Age", by Brian Kloppenburg and Tom Pearson. I have long thought that the scientific potential of the humble digital camera has been grossly neglected. See, for instance my article Measuring Skyglow with Digital Cameras in the February 2006 issue, page 99. Now Kloppenburg and Pearson explain how to use a digital SLR to measure the fluctuations of variable stars with exquisite precision.

Click here to see more about the April issue.


Image of Mark Looper

Mark Looper

February 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Amid the present dust-up about the demands that Apple is placing on publishers who want to charge for subscription content on iOS devices, allow me to thank Sky & Telescope for avoiding all that DRM rubbish (Digital Rights Management, or to use a more honest name, Digital Restrictions Management). I can read an issue in a Web browser, or simply download it in my choice of formats - Adobe AIR or Java for a desktop computer, or PDF for just about any machine - with no authentication hassles past the initial sign-in to obtain access. My favorite way to read the magazine these days is to load the PDF into one of a number of reader apps on my iPad; I haven't opened my paper copy of the last few issues, and when my subscription is up for renewal I will probably be going digital-only. I wouldn't even think about this for an "archival" publication like S&T (i.e., I keep the issues instead of giving or throwing them away after reading them) if I had to worry about a DRM server going offline or a DRM-encumbered proprietary reader application going away after a few years. Of course, this means there's nothing to stop me from putting my PDF copy up on some pirate download site; I appreciate the fact that S&T doesn't treat me like a potential criminal who has to be actively prevented from ripping them off in this way.

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Image of Ray


March 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I too like the digital addition and have already dropped my subscription to the print version. Since S&T doesn't add any special multimedia features to the digital version, the DRM free PDF download is definitely the way to go. Adobe AIR is slow on many platforms and more than once the Nxtbook DRM servers have been down making the Air based version inaccessible. Save yourselves the trouble and future-proof yourselves at the same time by downloading the PDFs. Further, how does one find out when a new digital is available? The Nxtbook webpage says there's a way to get issues delivered automatically, but has anybody been able to activate this a feature? Is this site the only place to learn if a new issue can be downloaded? Is there e-mail notification? Can I find my digital subscription status online like I can a print subscription status? Can I update the account information associated with the digital subscription online?

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