Astronomy Defends an Innocent Man, Martian Microorganisms, and the End of the Spitzer Space Telescope
In January’s issue of Sky & Telescope, join scientists in exploring what might be living beneath the surface of Mars. After discovering microbes on the ocean floor and deep in Earth’s crust, scientists hope to find water and microorganisms hidden in the Red Planet's crust. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has documented exoplanets crossing in front of their stars and detected galaxies seen as they were over 13 billion years ago. Now, relive the scientific discoveries of the Spitzer, as it prepares to send Earth its final observations. Next, take a step even further back in time and watch as astronomer Father William Rigge saves an innocent man from a murder conviction using a photograph and the Sun. Join Fred Schaaf as he uses song lyrics from Cat Stevens’ Silent Sunlight to describe the January night sky. If you’re up for a challenge, join us in hunting down the Kordylewski Clouds. First found by Kazimierz Kordylewski, these clouds are the most challenging observing target in the solar system. Even professional astronomers and space probes have failed to detect them. Jerry Oltion will take you on a journey through the winter stars, and Sue French is taking another look at Auriga the Charioteer this month. January has plenty of meteor showers planned. Also, watch out for two bright asteroids, 5 Astraea and 511 Davida.
Space Missions in 2020
Our digest of active space missions for 2020. Included are astrophysics, space weather, planetary, and solar and stellar observation missions.
By David Dickinson and Terri Dubé
NASA’s premier eye on the infrared sky is shutting down after operating more than three times longer than designed.
By Michael Werner and Thomas Soifer
Shadow of a Doubt
In a historic Omaha court case, astronomical evidence played a key role in foiling a plan to frame a man for attempted murder.
By Jeffrey Dobereiner
Mesh Focusing Masks
This easy-to-assemble imaging aid can take the guesswork out of focusing.
By H. R. Suiter and W. P. Zmek
The Martian Underground
Discoveries of life deep beneath Earth’s surface are provoking scientists to wonder what might hide in the subsurface world of Mars.
By Javier Barbuzano
A Tourist's Guide to the Winter Highlights
Our nighttime favorites series continues with a selection of winter's splendors.
By Jerry Oltion
Beyond the Printed Page
Spray Silvering Telescope Mirrors
Learn more tips and tricks for silvering telescope mirrors.
BepiColombo Spacecraft to Visit Venus in 2020
Watch some puzzling events in Venus’s atmosphere recorded by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft.
Want to know more about these easy-to-assemble focusing tools? For more information, visit this blog written by author Dick Suiter.
The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents
Read more about the 1977 discovery of hydrothermal vents on Earth’s ocean floors.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
January’s starry sky inspires a year of dreams and plans.
By Fred Schaaf
Catch the Quads
After a bright Moon slammed both the Perseids and the Geminids last year, January opens with the promise of an excellent show from the Quadrantid meteor shower.
By Bob King
The Kordylewski Clouds
Join the hunt for these enigmatic lunar attendants.
By Thomas A. Dobbins
Auriga, the Charioteer
Some of the sky’s finest nebulae and star clusters adorn this constellation.
By Sue French
Table of Contents
See what else January's issue has to offer.