Popular Astronomy, Fall 2017 – New/Reboot Magazine Available For Free Download

The announcement of the rebooted Popular Astronomy was made on 15 July 2017 but has only recently made its way to my inbox thanks to postings on the ASRAS email list (and Dave Mormuth’s post to the SAS website). Having signed up for the free subscription service, we’ll keep track of this magazine’s availability as we do the bi-monthly Free Astronomy Magazine posts.

From the site announcement post:

Magazine PDF link (direct download button in upper-left corner):


Issue Highlights

* Dava Sobel’s original new essay inspired by her best-selling book, “The Glass Universe.”

* Dr. Michael Summers on exoplanets and “Diamond Worlds.”

* Dr. Jeffrey Bennett brings a cosmic perspective to the study of exoplanets.

* Best-selling author John Read delivers the perfect orientation to telescope selection —and astrophotography.

* Geoff Cottrell gives us a tour of the next big telescopes.

* Martin Griffiths takes us deep inside the nebulae.

* The legendary Wil Tirion guides us through the history of celestial cartography.

* Peter Pesic provides a fascinating historical perspective on music and the making of modern science.

* Astrophysicist Neil Comins brings the concept— and experience—of space tourism into focus.

* John Fossett shows us how to create an astronomy club through your local library.

* Jeff Bennett returns with a complete guide to Eclipse 2017.

* John Schroeter on the history of radio telescopes and the detection of mysterious fast radio bursts.

* George Musser’s “Einstein’s Castle in the Air” questions the essence of space and time.

* A special Popular Astronomy eBook recounting the history of Mars exploration – popularastronomy.technicacuriosa.com/history-future-mars-exploration/

And don’t forget to register for your FREE subscription!

And for a little about the publisher (the site contains a number of space and technical posts – worth checking out!).

“The home of Popular Electronics, Mechanix Illustrated, and Popular Astronomy”

Technica Curiosa is the new and exciting hub of a highly-connected family of iconic media brands—brands endowed with rich legacies of world-changing, decades-spanning influence. As such, they are among the world’s most recognized, respected, shared, and deeply read titles. By consistently and creatively tapping into readers’ innate curiosity, imagination, and inventiveness, our brands have in turn inspired the creation of entire industries. No question, the road to innovation is quite literally paved with the content published in these exceptional titles.

“Upstate NY Stargazing In October” Article Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The latest article in the Upstate NY Stargazing series, “Upstate NY stargazing in October: The Orionids, International Observe the Moon Night,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com.

Direct Links: newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com

* Included this month are a reminder/announcement about Kopernik AstroFest 2017 (Oct. 13/14), International Observe the Moon Night on October 28th, and the Orionids:

The Orionids are the most prominent meteor shower in October, but ride near the bottom of the top-10 list of active showers for the year. Observers simply interested in seeing any shooting stars do benefit from the Orionids peaking at a time of year when a number of less significant meteor showers are also active, including one of the Geminids and two Taurids showers. This year, the grouping of active showers around the Orionids peak benefit greatly from the absence of the Moon during the 20th-21st peak.

* With Orion out and about at a reasonable hour, the Orion-star-finder has been brought back from the UNY Stargazing archives:

Caption:Orion can guide you around its neighborhood. Red = belt stars to Sirius and Canis Major; Orange = Rigel and belt center to Castor and Pollux in Gemini; Yellow = Bellatrix and Betelgeuse to Canis Major; Green = Belt stars to Aldebaran and Taurus; Blue = Saiph and Orion’s head to Capella in Auriga. Click for a larger view.

* The pre-sunrise mornings continue to provide excellent planetary viewing of Mars and Venus, with several notable arrangements occurring this month:

Caption:The prominent planetary groupings in the morning sky this month. Click for a larger view.

* And, finally, we finish up the circumpolar constellations with Camelopardalis before going briefly into what circumpolar constellations are in the November article:

Caption: Camelopardalis and its more prominent neighbors. (Image made with Stellarium)

IOTA Announcement – Occultation By Neptune’s Moon Triton – 5 October 2017

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The following recently came across the ASRAS email list from ASRAS and IOTA member Brad Timerson. If you’ve the gear for it, this is an excellent chance to contribute to some far-out science.

There will be an occultation of a 12.5-mag. star by Neptune’s large satellite Triton the early evening of October 5th (just before 8pm EDT) that will be visible from east of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s the brightest star to be occulted by Triton since the Voyager flyby showed that the satellite has a substantial atmosphere with interesting dark plumes. The occultation will allow us to learn more about the atmosphere, and its variation with altitude and latitude. Sofia plans to fly over the Atlantic, to try to catch the central flash, where Triton’s whole atmosphere will focus/amplify the star’s light, probing deeper parts of the atmosphere. This might also be observed from Florida, but observations anywhere from the East Coast area are sought, to sample a wide range of latitudes of Triton’s atmosphere. Details of the occultation are available at MIT’s Web site for the event at hubble.mit.edu/prediction.html.

The central time for the Rochester area is within several seconds of 7:55:40 pm EDT on October 5th. For an observer near the center of the path, the event could last as long as 3 minutes. Because the Rochester area is north of that path, any occultation or atmospheric dimming would likely last some fraction of that time. You should plan to record the event for about 10 minutes before and after the time shown here.

A main challenge of the event will be to record Triton and the target star with a good signal, preferably with clear separation between 8th-mag. Neptune less than a quarter arc minute away. You will need good scale to separate the objects well enough. More observing tips are given on the MIT web site. The target star is about a magnitude brighter than Triton.

Telescopes as small as 8″ Newtonians will show the target star. (see included image from a European observer) For occultation work, we don’t need to “see” the occulting body (Triton in this case), just the object being occulted. Low light and/or integrating video cameras are best for this observation. However, standard astronomical cameras operated in a mode so as to produce images as quickly as possible will also work. Testing ahead of time to determine the correct exposure to just barely detect Triton should be done. This is to insure that the light from nearby Neptune doesn’t overwhelm that of the nearby moon and star at the time of the event.

Target star, Neptune, and Triton.

I plan on using my 10″ Meade LX200GPS at either f/6.3 (focal reducer) or at the normal f/10 prime focus. I will be using a Watec 120N+ low light video camera and integrating for 64 or 128 frames (2 seconds and 4 seconds). I’m still experimenting and might even need longer integration times.

Triton occults 4UC 410-143659, 5 October 2017 – visible regions from Earth.

Everyone with suitable equipment is encouraged to try this event. And I would appreciate it if this message is forwarded to any nearby universities that might have the ability to observe this event. If individual images are taken (instead of video) the exact time for each exposure is required (don’t depend on the computer’s internal clock. Use a GPS-based time). For analysis, it may be possible to measure the light level on individual images or the images can be combined into a video and measuring software used on the video.

Please contact me (EMAIL) for additional information or to submit observations.