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Interview with Jim Bell

Planetary scientist Jim Bell chats with S&T's Camille Carlisle about NASA's incredible new moon images, featured in the June issue. Plus, see more spectacularly detailed lunar landscapes.

Astronomy and Society

Hubble Celebrates as Shuttle Retires

Hubble is beginning celebrations early for its 22nd birthday with this composite image, a fantastic combination of ground- and space-based observations of the Tarantula Nebula.

Galaxies

WISE Identifies Mystery Sources

Astronomers are using infrared observations from NASA's WISE spacecraft to identify sources seen at energies a million times greater. The work may help astronomers figure out whether they've detected unknown cosmic phenomena.

M3 globular cluster

Cosmology

Far-out Black Hole Hints

“Star cities” orbiting galaxies may reveal the mass of the gargantuan black hole hidden deep in the galaxy’s heart. The new relation could be more evidence for a large-scale black hole-galaxy link — or, it could mean one of the latest revolutions in astrophysics isn’t the full story.

Stellar Science

New ALMA Images Stoke Exoplanet Flame

Astronomers have released the first new science results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a still-under-construction network of 66 antennas in northern Chile. The new observations suggest the contentious Fomalhaut star system may have two small planets shepherding its gigantic ring.

Celestial News & Events

Venus Passes the Pleiades

Venus is passing through the Pleiades in a breathtaking spectacle that reaches its peak on April 3rd. This unique pairing is part of a series of Venus events in 2012, culminating in the June transit of the Sun.

Astronomy & Observing News

Sky & Telescope May 2012

Sky & Telescope's May 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 April 3rd.

Exoplanets

Twin-Eyed Telescope Sees Sharp Stars

The Large Binocular Telescope has opened one of its new eyes on the sky, revealing exoplanets and stars with a precision that rivals the best ground-based observatories astronomers have.

Solar System

Smooth Sailing on Titan

Waves don't grow much — if at all — on Saturn's moon Titan. However, the calm lakes and seas might see some surface wrinkles in a few years when the northern hemisphere's summer arrives.

Celestial News & Events

Aurora Alert — Check Your Skies

A huge coronal mass ejection from the Sun struck Earth's magnetic field around 11:00 UT (6 a.m. EST or 3 a.m. PST) on Thursday, March 8th.

Cosmology

Distant Galaxies Hint at Exotic Physics

Observations of galaxies shooting high-powered jets from their cores suggest the existence of a hypothetical particle. While speculative, the results could mean that photons aren't as dependable as we envision them to be.

History and Sky Lore

In Memoriam, Star-style

Twenty-five years ago, a star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The first easily seen supernova since before astronomers turned telescopes to study the heavens, the explosion heralded a new age of astronomy.

Celestial News & Events

Venus on the Rise

Noticed an exceptionally bright beacon in the evening sky? The planet Venus has begun its highest foray up the sky's dome, surprising at least one casual observer as it prepares for its conjunction with the Moon and Jupiter in March.

Stellar Science

No Winds of Change for Eta Carinae

Faint echoes from the massive, hot star’s Great Eruption suggest that a standard explanation for that event may not match what really happen. Not conclusive, the new study is sure to kick off debate among stellar astronomers.

Galaxies

The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs

Two teams of astronomers have independently announced the detection of a dwarf galaxy being eaten by another dwarf galaxy, NGC 4449. Seen in this image as a faint swipe of red stars, the satellite will probably be shredded after only a few orbits of its host, adding its stars to that galaxy's collection.

Astronomy & Observing News

The Spin's the Thing

Astrophysicists’ new work suggests that a black hole spits out a more powerful jet if it’s spinning the same direction as the hot material falling into it. The conclusion adds to an ongoing debate about how (or whether) the direction of a black hole's spin affects the outflow it spews into space.

Cosmology

Galaxy in a Bucket

A tiny lab experiment could provide additional evidence for how galaxies come by their magnetic fields. The physics isn't new, but that's part of the allure.

Astronomy & Observing News

Ancient Astronomers Were No Fools

A study of historical star catalogs has turned up a surprising result: long-gone stargazers knew that the stellar magnitudes they observed needed correcting — but the correction is for an atmospheric effect scientists didn’t quantify until the 1700s.

Astronomy & Observing News

An Evaporating Exoplanet?

Brief, variable dips in the light from a low-mass star have left astronomers wondering what strange object could be periodically blocking the starlight. Their hypothesis? A closely-orbiting planet is disintegrating before their eyes.

Astronomy & Observing News

Sky & Telescope April 2012

Sky & Telescope's April 2012 issue is now available to digital subscribers.

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