For years, many readers of Sky & Telescope have clamored for a digital edition that can be read on computers and hand-held devices. Some want it to save paper, some want it so that they can read S&T while traveling, even if they forgot to bring their paper copy. And international readers in particular want it for cheap, fast, and reliable delivery — something that's getting ever harder to achieve with conventional magazines as countries worldwide scale back their postal services.

Sky & Telescope

S&T's digital edition was introduced quietly, on an experimental basis, early in 2010. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, so the digital edition was launched for real a few months ago. But many readers are still unaware of it, which is why I'm writing this blog.

Digital subscriptions cost $29.95 per year, compared to $37.95 for a paper subscription in the U.S. — or much more for overseas subscribers. And people who already subscribe in print can get the digital version too for just $0.99 per issue. (For those who like to compare apples to apples, that's $11.88 per year).

NOTE: As of March 2012, subscribers to the print magazine receive complementary digital subscriptions for free.

Click here for a Sky & Telescope digital subscription.


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Laurence Hill

September 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I have tried the digital version and found it extremely good on my Iphone. However, the issue i have with this is the need to keep using up bandwidth to gather each new page. Is there a way of saving it to read without transferring each page when required?

It would also be good for someone to write a blog on how the full app works, i.e. each page is gathered when required using bandwidth and potentially running up additional costs if roaming abroad.

Other than that a great move forward and i will consider a subscription.

Best regards

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September 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I tried loading the sample copy on my Linux machine - it failed, both with my Firefox browser and with Opera. This might be because I use a 64 bit O/S, but that's not going to change. On a windows box it *did* load within Firefox, but I have to say I dislike flash applications and I'm not keen on having to stay online just to read a magazine.
If I did go for this, I'd probably end up printing the copy as a PDF file and reading it offline with acrobat - which would be my ideal delivery format.

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September 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

If I have already paid more for the paper edition why do you think I should pay additional for something that costs less!

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Glenn Kelly

September 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

I have been a continual pain asking that subscriptions to Sky & Telescope as well as other magazines be offered in digital format. Nothing gave me more of a bigger push that 3 years ago when a flood wiped out an entire collection of 20+ years worth of Sky & Telescope, Night Sky, CCD Astronomer, and Astronomy magazines. I thank the heavens and Sky 7 Telescope for having now published the 7 decades of S&T Magazine and laud the new digital subscription effort. Although I never expect another flood, I feel comfort in that I will never loose the collection again.

Thanks, S&T!

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Robert Morefield

September 24, 2010 at 11:59 am

I like the idea of the digital Sky & Telescope. When viewing the sample I saw that each page was downloaded at the turn of the page. Will the subscription issues be able to be downloaded to our hard drive so that we can take the issue with us and view on a different computer? Also so that I can archive the issue as I have my hard copies?

FYI I viewed the issue using Windows 7 Pro on a 64bit computer with 8 gig of memory.

I would probably not be interested if I am not able to archive the issue for future reference.

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Ralph Megna

September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I gave the sample edition a try on my iPhone 3GS. It was ok. I suspect the experience would be better on an iPad. But I missed being able to use some of the gestures that are common on an iOS device. For example, it ought to be possible to move forward and backward through the pages by swiping them left or right. Also, the text only version didn't seem to work.

Honestly, I hope S&T considers an iOS app with downloadable editions when Apple rolls out its "news stand" support. At that point, I would seriously consider dropping the paper subscription and going all-digital, but only if I can archive the editions for future reference.

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Bob Denton

September 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I live in Australia and the paper mag is expensive for us and slow to get here. The sky charts are out of date when we get to see them. I gave up on it years back but I could be convinced to buy the digital version of S & T. I have some questions: how long is each download available? Will the PDF always be available? I wont have it unless I can always have the PDF version. Anser my questions satisfactorily and you will have my money....Bob

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Martin Lewicki

September 25, 2010 at 1:17 am

Great idea - but - had nothing but trouble trying to run and read it on my Windows 7 machine. The so-call offline version wants me to log on and chew up my limited GB allocation to read it. So I download the so-called pdf version and all I got was a pdf file with 18 pages of which half were adds and the remainder an article on Focal Ratios - far from the complete issue. Yet the May trial PDF download was the complete version.

So after forking out $30 I can't access the complete magazine to read offline - waste of money - wish we were warned of these caveats forehand.


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September 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Ok, here is what I found after messing around and what S&T neglected to tell you in any obvious way.


1. There is no classic PDF version an issue available so far as I can see that you can download for offline reading (other an 18-page 4MB teaser - half of which is advertisements)

2. In order to read the full issue (88 pages) offline you must download Adobe AIR and install it.

3. Then download the AIR version of the S&T issue - about 40MB

4. When you open it for the first time, it requires you to be on line, however this is to take your user/password so that it unlocks your offline version for reading. This is the only time you go one line to read it offline (sic).

5 After this you can open it offline anytime without being on line.

This presumably means that after each issue has been unlock for the first time you can archive it and retrieve it anytime without going on line.


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September 25, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I've been following the comments and offer the following. Like other subscribers I welcomed the digital edition as a practical means of archiving without the space problem. However, it's a good idea poorly implemented. Initially I used the print tab to obtain a PDF version using Adobe Acrobat (not reader), however many readers will not have this application. Additionally the rendering on some pages omitted large chunks of image or text.
A PDF version can be downloaded by following the "Save to desktop" tag near the top right of the reader screen. After all the instructions on installing Adobe Air there is an option to download PDF. However, the text rendering varies from page to page and is quite poor at times. This appears page related and can vary within an article.
Finally, I would expect a link on the S&T home page to the digital edition. I can only find links to subscribe, but I've already done that! It appears the only link to the actual digital edition is via an email.
Overall, it's a good idea but really needs some polish to bring the digital edition implementation up to the usual high S&T standard.

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September 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Tony, you write that many readers are still unaware of the digital edition, but it doesn't appear to me that you guys have done a lot to publicize it. This blog entry is the first mention of it that I've seen at the S&T web site. I only knew about it because I got an email invitation to subscribe in March, but then I didn't even get a notice to renew six months later when my initial subscription was up. Just kept wondering why I couldn't access the October issue, until it dawned on me...

There's no option for a digital edition in the subscription page at the S&T web site, there's no banner at the S&T home page saying anything like "digital edition now available". When I wanted to renew my digital subscription, I had to dig through the October print issue to find the 1-column ad for it on page 19 with the web address.

When the 7-decade S&T DVD collection came out, you guys rolled out all of the bells and whistles to let people know it was available. I suspect if you give the digital edition similar publicity, you'll get a better response.


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David Illig

September 26, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Scientific American, Science, and others use PDF. Quick, convenient, universal, easy to download and transfer to iPad (e.g.) for portability. Sorry, not interested in off-brand formats.

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Vincent, UK

September 29, 2010 at 3:36 am

Just a question - why should overseas DIGITAL subscriptions be more expensive? It's not as if there are any distribution costs as with the paper subscriptions.

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March 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I purchased. It, and tried to print but flash crashed. Clearly it has serious problems. Loading one page at a time is absolutely hopeless.

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February 10, 2018 at 10:29 am

how do i find the digital issues? what web site?

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Monica Young

February 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

You can subscribe to the digital issue in the same way that you do to print: If you're already subscribed and have any questions about setting up your digital access, please send an email to or call 1-800-253-0245 (U.S.A., Canada) or +1 386-597-4387 (International).

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