Planets, Telescopes, Imaging, and More!

In the November 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope, we share a smorgasbord of astronomical delights. Explore the three monster telescopes designed to revolutionize our view of the universe. Learn about the mission headed to Mercury that will double the number of spacecraft that have visited the innermost planet and discover what we know and what we're hoping to learn from the new up-close observations. Find out how color photography was brought to astronomy using a technique first proposed by James Clerk Maxwell. Plus, how many extragalactic globulars can you see with an amateur scope?  Check out our observing picks for the month, learn the optimal aperture for viewing the Moon and planets, and go on a deep sky tour in Pegasus! Read about one amateur astronomer's project to create a scale model of the solar system along a local walking and bicycling path. We also review iOptron's CEM120 Equatorial Mount. Enjoy these and other stories in the November 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope.

Feature Articles

An artist's conception of BepiColombo at Mercury. ESA

Monster Scopes
Astronomers and engineers are boldly building a generation of telescopes like none that has gone before.
By Govert Schilling

Return to the Iron Planet
An ungainly stack of satellites is set to double the number of spacecraft that have visited Mercury.
By Emily Lakdawalla

When Color Came from Down Under
Astronomy had to wait some 100 years before one astronomer popularized the color of the universe.
By Antonio Peña

In Search of Extragalactic Globulars
What’s the farthest star ball you can see with an amateur telescope? Start your hunt outside the Milky Way.
By Steve Gottlieb

Spotlight on a Seyfert
The author takes a close look at the nearest and brightest Seyfert galaxy through a 48-inch telescope.
By Howard Banich

Beyond the Printed Page

From our gallery, M15 and Pease 1.
William Warden

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Launches to “Touch the Sun”
Read the original article in full about the Parker Solar Probe's launch.

HaloSat: A Small Satellite for a Big Question
Want to learn more about HaloSat, a mini-satellite recently deployed from the International Space Station, on the hunt for the universe's missing matter? Read the full story here.

Challenge Planetary Nebula Finder Charts
Grab the finder charts for Pease 1 in in Pegasus, the first globular cluster found to host a planetary nebula.


From our gallery.

Doubles and More in Capricornus
We continue our exploration of the celestial Sea Goat — you might stumble upon some unexpected finds.
By Fred Schaaf

An Asteroid Pays a Visit
This month offers ideal viewing conditions for asteroid 3 Juno.
By S. N. Johnson-Roehr

How Much Does Size Matter
The optimal aperture for viewing the Moon and planets is surprisingly modest.
By Thomas A. Dobbins

Pegasus Arise!
Look high to discover the glories of the Winged Horse.
By Sue French

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


Image of bsmith3544


September 26, 2018 at 5:11 pm

In Emily Lakdawalla's article (S&T 11/18 p20), a diagram (p27) depicts the sun's position/motion relative to a fixed point on Mercury's surface. In the diagram, the sun rises and sets relatively rapidly, but lingers almost stationary overhead for most of the "day". A couple of questions (just for curiosity) ...
(1) Does the sun ever go in retrograde motion for the planetary parameters of Mercury (rotational period, orbital period, orbital eccentricity, distance from the sun, and perhaps planet diameter)?
(2) Is there a simple mathematical relationship between the above parameters (taking the axis tilt to be essentially zero) that indicates the onset of retrograde motion for a planet? Perhaps a dimensionless group with value a specified number.
Thanks for any insight into the above.

- Brent Smith - Raleigh NC -

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