FC-2014-11-172pxSolar Eclipses and the Shrouds of Dead Stars

Planetary nebulae are some of the most marvelous observing sights in the night sky. But what creates their strange, varied shapes? Contributing editor Robert Zimmerman explores the still-mysterious origins of these gaseous sculptures in the November 2014 issue’s cover story, “Spider Webs in Space.” The issue also previews the next three years’ total solar eclipses, including the long-anticipated Great American Eclipse, which will stretch its path of totality across the continental United States. While you’re making your observing plans, don’t forget to check out autumn’s galaxy trios and our solar system’s ice giants.

Feature Articles

NGC 6543
This detailed Hubble Space Telescope image reveals intricate structures in the planetary nebulae NGC 6543, known as the Cat's Eye. William Huggins's 1864 observation of this nebula revealed that these structures are "luminous gas."
NASA / ESA / HEIC / Hubble Heritage Team (STScI /AURA)

Spider Webs in Space
Astronomers are still puzzled by how stars create the bizarre variety of planetary nebulae in our galaxy.
By Robert Zimmerman

A Trio of Total Solar Eclipses
The next three years each offer a chance to view one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
By Fred Espenak & Jay Anderson

A Star Walk for Everyone
This project aims to protect the night sky by turning people’s eyes
to the stars.
By Karoline Mrazek & Erwin Matys

Observing Autumn Galaxy Trios
Good things often come in threes.
By Ted Forte

Cartoon Creator
The science cartoonist Sidney Harris describes his sources
of inspiration
By Sidney Harris

Beyond the Printed Page

Map of Eclipse Tour DestinationsSky & Telescope 2016 and 2017 Eclipse Tours
Whether or not you have previously seen a total eclipse, you won't want to miss out on these.

Dwarf Galaxies Packed a Mighty Punch by Shannon Hall
Light from the puniest galaxies played a bigger role in shaping the early universe than previously thought.

How to Orbit a Comet European Space Agency, ESA
Watch a video of the Rosetta spacecraft's planned orbit around its comet.

Lunar Librations by Sean Walker
Librations and other lunar data for November 2014.


Uranus on Aug. 23, 2006
Detail on Uranus was once beyond amateurs' ability to see, much less photograph, but webcam imaging now sometimes brings it in reach — as this image taken by Ralf Vandenbergh on August 23, 2006, shows.

A Realm of the Ice Giants
Track down the outermost planets this month.
By Richard Jakiel

A Meeting of the Waters
Aquarius hosts one great planetary nebula and some fascinating galaxies.
By Sue French

Table of Contents
See what else November's issue has to offer.


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