Free Astronomy Magazine – July-August 2018 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: Curiosity Rover looks up at Mount Sharp, Gale Crater, frickin’ Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

With two posts here and two issues accounted for (both featuring my modest contributions to the English language version), there’s now even a populated category link to click on for the whole (still short) history.

The July-August issue of Free Astronomy Magazine has been up for a few weeks now and I hope you were already aware of that from the CNY Observers post about the same.

Varied enough to cover the last 13.55 billion years and even sneak out into speculative engineering efforts in the not-too-distant future, all the while short enough to finish in one educational go. Better still, New Moon Telescopes is now even more internationally recognized, albeit perhaps still in English throughout.

I had to go right to the papers that explain the process of exoatmospheric helium detection by infrared spectroscopy (see the Nature article HERE), then think that “stellar thief” is a great name for a band.

Please download, read, and pass along. Also, check out the many back issues at | Direct PDF

Out With Upstate, In With More Of The Rest Of The Planet: Free Astronomy Magazine – May/June 2018 Issue For Reading And Download

Above: Marius Hills and a Hole in the Moon. Image Credit: NASA, Lunar Orbiter 2; Inset: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

I am very pleased to mark my new editing contributions to the English-language version of Free Astronomy Magazine, starting with the current May-June 2018 issue. This new role was made possible by Michele Ferrara, Editor-in-Chief of the free and multi-language astronomy magazine that I have been very happily promoting on the CNYO site for several years now – and that I now get to promote here and on the CNYO site with my NASA Solar System Ambassador hat on. A combination of space agency publications (all the heavy hitters – NASA, ESA, ESO, ALMA, and Keck, among others) and original content, FAM has been a wonderful resource for those wanting to take a step beyond observation and into hard science and the many missions that make cutting-edge astronomy and astrophysics possible. It’s not only convenient to have a number of significant articles combined into a single magazine, but the inclusion of informative images and a great layout makes the download and read a no-brainer.

The process started in early April of figuring out what it meant to be providing a bit of translating and editing skills for both the text and the scientific content – that it, it not only has to be correct, you have to make sure it’s right as well (let that sink in!). And the timing could not have been better (although that wasn’t known until later in April).

Finally, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to combine science outreach (which I very much enjoy) with an established brand that is doing more than its share to make astronomy and space science accessible to a considerable part of the global population (we’re talking bimonthly magazines translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese, with requests for additional translations into other languages scrolling on the main page).

The Table Of Contents for the May-June 2018 issue is reproduced below. Follow links below to the on-screen PDF and downloadable versions. If you enjoy it, please forward along the links and site. | Direct PDF

Upstate NY Stargazing (The Article Series, Anyway): 2016 – 2018

Above: Uranus, the one planet making all of the rounds in your favorite news feeds today, as captured by Voyager 2 in 1986. Credit: NASA/JPL.

For those wondering why the May 1st web content on and looks a little brighter (get it?), I’m passing along here that the article series has been cancelled by Syracuse Media Group. After almost two years, 28 articles (having even gone weekly last summer to coax people out more often with up-to-date positioning and flyover timings), one well-attended solar eclipse, and a short-stack of Uranus potty humor and misspelled complaints about grammar and punctuation (sorry again, Kathleen), readership for the series wasn’t high enough to warrant its continuation.

The series was both enjoyable and instructive for my part – having to put together observing lists, keep record of planetary positions to know when to head outside with a pair of binoculars, make Stellarium do what I wanted it to do, and focus a few paragraphs worth of new content at top (a monthly whatever) and bottom (an easily-observable constellation) each month was a great exercise for keeping myself in the amateur astronomy loop, even when the weather conditions in CNY/UNY did not lend themselves to being outside for more than a few minutes at a time.

Obviously, it didn’t do much to shorten my sentences.

Best of all was the monthly reminder that groups of amateurs all over the state were still hosting public sessions and organizing their own events – and that there are many individuals either hosting their own observing websites or sharing their observing logs and images with their respective member organizations.

My thanks to Glenn Coin for keeping astronomy-related content still appearing in and as significant events happen and to Steve Carlic for making the series happen in the first place. Space stories by “not me” always make their way to both websites as well – I am optimistic that Uranus will always coax comments, even if some readers never make it past the title.

Finally – as was the point of the article series – if you see an astronomy event in your area, go to it. If you’ve a local club, join it – membership dues keep these organizations running. Most importantly, if you see someone waaaaaay off the scientific mark, find a polite way to correct them or, at least, make it clear to those around them that the facts are out there. Google and wikipedia remain wonderful resources when used correctly.