Space: Secrets and Surprises

In the September 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope, we explore all manner of mysteries in space. What was it like when we first peered through Venus's clouds (and why should we go back)? How did dunes form on Pluto? Where did young stars near our galaxy's central black hole come from? What was that strange object scientists found in Lacerta in 1929? Polar align your scope using a camera and spreadsheet. What diaphanous delights does September's sky have in store? Check out our observing picks for the month, learn about lunar librations, and see what stars Lacerta has in store! Plus, these celestial targets are fun to find with the right telescope under suburban skies. Enjoy these and other stories in the September 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope.

Feature Articles

Total solar eclipse of August 2017
From our gallery — Lunar/Venus Conjunction
James W Young

Destination: Venus?
Our toxic twin might be a scientific treasure-trove, but infrequent visits are hindering studies, causing many planetary scientists to grow frustrated.
By Shannon Hall

Near the Pit
A bumfuzzling troupe of young stars crowds around the Milky Way’s central black hole. How did they get there, and what can they tell us about gravity?
By Camille M. Carlisle

The Enigma that is BL Lacertae
This cosmic detective story is still ongoing today.
By David Nakamoto

Polar Alignment with Camera and Spreadsheet
Digital photography and a computer spreadsheet offer a new twist for precision polar alignment of equatorial telescopes.
By Jürgen Kahlhöfer

Autumn in the Suburbs
The right telescope and a little persistence will help you see these subtle wonders.
By Rod Mollise

Beyond the Printed Page

The mountain range on the edge of Pluto's Sputnik Planitia ice plain. 

Dunes on Pluto
Read the original article in full about what scientists think is the discovery of wind-built ripples of methane ice on Pluto.

Big Dust Storm Blows up on Mars (Updated)
Stay up to date on the latest about Mars' dust storm in this frequently updated article.

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle
Investigate black holes with Science Editor Camille Carlisle in her new blog, The Black Hole Files.

Lunar Librations and Phases of the Moon
Librations and other lunar data for September 2018.


From our gallery — A Dusty Region in Lacerta.
Robert Fields

Harvesting the Autumn Skies
Be prepared to gaze in wonder upon September's diaphanous delights.
By Fred Schaaf

Autumn Arrives
As summer gives way to fall, lengthening nights offer planet-spotting from dusk to dawn.
By Fred Schaaf

A Nod to Lunar Libration
Every month, the Moon's face wobbles enough to give you a peek at some of its hidden farside.
By J. Kelly Beatty

Lacerta sive Stellio
This tiny celestial reptile is speckled with stars.
By Sue French

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


Image of Dominick-Iascone


July 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Can't get digital August or September issue. The only option seems to be Zinio, but it doesn't recognize my Email or password, but when I try to set up a link to the digital issues, it says the info I give it is already linked to someone. Help again.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Dominick-Iascone


August 4, 2018 at 6:22 pm

Per my previous message about not finding the digital edition(s) of Sky & Telescope - I found it. In the past, I would receive an email with a link, but haven't received it recently. I couldn't find digital access through the S&T home page. Finally went to Subscriber Services and found a digital access link there. Everything is copasetic now except for the perpetual rain & moonlit cloudy skies at night here in Chesapeake Beach.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of

[email protected]

August 27, 2018 at 11:30 am

And in detail: First you login. Then Subscribe / Subscriber services / Access current digital issue. Click top icon 5 from right (the arrow over the tray) and the latest issue is downloaded as pdf. Much better than the new service through the company Zinio.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of PaulB


August 8, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I am still awaiting my print copy here in the UK.

I sent S&T and email about this but haven't had anything positive. Please, can you sort this out?

You must be logged in to post a comment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.