The cover of the February 2024 issue

Hope at Mars, Mapping the Cosmos, and Dark Energy

In the February issue of Sky & Telescope, we go behind the scenes of the United Arab Emirates Hope Mission to Mars. The Hope spacecraft is obtaining a comprehensive view of the Martian atmosphere and answering questions about the Red Planet’s climate and weather. And while we’re still talking big picture, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey has set out to map the entire universe in 3D and shine a light on the history of the cosmos. Scientists intend to use this map to unravel the secrets of dark energy. To offer our readers some context, we also go into the history of the mysterious repulsive force and how it was discovered. While DESI captures 100,000 spectra per night to create its massive map, we show readers how to use their existing setups to capture targets that don’t fit in their current telescope’s field of view.


Hope at Mars

The Emirati orbiter is giving us a big-picture view of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

By Javier Barbuzano

The New 3D Atlas of Cosmic History

Astronomers are peering into space — and into the past — to map the cosmos.

By Dan Falk

Dark Energy: A Brief History

A quarter century ago, far-off supernovae upended our expectations for the fate of the universe.

By Elizabeth Fernandez

Winter Observing in the South

Feast your eyes on a selection of targets at more southerly latitudes.

By Mario Motta

Driveway Planetaries for the Winter and Spring

Here’s a selection of planetary nebulae that you can snag from most any location.

By Don Ferguson

Expanding the Field

Try this technique when photographing targets that don’t fit in your telescope’s field of view.

By Ron Brecher

Beyond the Printed Page:

Taming The Satellite Swarm

Read about the International Telecommunication Union attempts to stem the massive influx of filings for new satellites.

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument in Action

Watch the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument’s 5,000 robotic positioners in action.

Observing Ring Galaxies

Check out this ebook version of Observing Ring Galaxies by Jimi Lowery and Alvin Huey.

The American Association for Variable Star Observers

Use the AAVSO’s website to create finder charts for your favorite variable stars.


The Cave of Zeus

Here are three new ways to see the brightest stars of Auriga.

By Stephen James O’Meara

A Pair of Leo Variables

Meet R Leonis and its next-door neighbor, X Leonis.

By Bob King

A Slumbering Lunar Lake

A neglected corner of the Moon contains interesting surprises under the right lighting.

By Charles A. Wood

Basic Image Editing

These simple processing tips can transform your astrophotos from bland to beautiful.

By Tony Puerzer

Table of Contents

See what else February’s issue has to offer.


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