Asteroids, Exoplanets, and Gems in the Winter Sky
In the February 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope, planets aren’t what they seem, and the winter sky holds sparkling gems. While we hunt down glittering open clusters, planetary scientists are sending the Lucy and Psyche missions to suss out the secrets of asteroids across our solar system. Astronomers are also pondering the nature of exoplanets between the size of Earth and Neptune — for which there’s no analog back home. For this kind of exploration to continue, we’ll need new astronomers with new ideas. Living under bright skies and in underprivileged communities, thousands of children have never even seen the Milky Way, let alone been offered astronomy as a potential future career. What happens if the next great astronomer never finds out that astronomy is an option for them? Planetarium director Derrick Pitts is doing his part in Philadelphia to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Planetary scientists are sending robotic emissaries to unmask the secrets of asteroids throughout the solar system.
By Emily Lakdawalla
Super-Earths and mini-Neptunes abound in the galaxy, but astronomers are still working out what these worlds actually look like.
By Colin Stuart
Reach out to young space enthusiasts while reaching for the stars.
By M. Nicole Nazzaro
Open clusters, shimmering conglomerations of stars, adorn February’s night skies.
By Alan Whitman
Dedicating multiple nights to a single target can lead to surprising results.
By Rolf Wahl Olsen
Beyond the Printed Page:
Read the National Academy of Science’s marching orders for the coming decade in astronomy and astrophysics.
Help NASA scientists follow asteroid occultations so they can predict the shapes and orbits of the future targets of the Lucy mission.
Use the International Occultation Timing Association’s website to find the exact timings of lunar occultations for your area.
Inspire young people with this high-quality, inexpensive telescope kit.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
The celestial Twins are more than a famous pair of bright stars.
By Fred Schaaf
The zodiacal light returns at dusk with a new twist.
By Bob King
Does China’s sample return mission change our understanding of lunar chronology?
By Charles A. Wood
A basic and (relatively) inexpensive accessory can take your astrophotography to the next level.
By Ade Ashford
Table of Contents
See what else February's issue has to offer.