Free Astronomy Magazine – November-December 2020 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: At left, a false-color enhancement of an original photograph of the opaque Venus cloud cover taken by Mariner 10 during its gravity-assist maneuver en route to Mercury in February, 1974. At right, the surface of Venus as captured by the Magellan spacecraft. [Magellan Project/NASA/JPL]

The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (November-December 2020) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure at www.astropublishing.com.

Our fearless leader Michele Ferrara was again gracious enough to offer me the cover article, this issue featuring a broader discussion of the phosphine detection in the Venusian atmosphere and the "extreme conditions call for extreme adaptation" analysis of what, if actually there, might go into understanding Venusian lifeforms.

Michele had a similar problem to mine in the writing of this article when he was putting the final touches on the Betelgeuse article in the September-October 2020 issue. Within two weeks of going to print, yet another article was published in the peer review that challenged the previously-published analysis of the events leading up to the changing brightness of Betelgeuse over last winter. For the phosphine article, the story is still quite evolving – within days of going to print, the article "Re-analysis of the 267-GHz ALMA observations of Venus: No statistically significant detection of phosphine" was published on arxiv.org claiming that the original published study was a result more of data-fitting than detection. There will be a follow-up article on the phosphine debate to come, but we, as the article says, "sit back and watch how the professionals do it" for a time.

The original content for this issue continues with two articles extending the recent discussions of SETI-related projects in the magazine. I mentioned to Michele that he's been writing so many of these articles as of late that I wonder if he knows something I don't…

This issue also, so far as the current plan is, brings me back to something I greatly enjoy but have not had the time to commit to as of late (global pandemic or no, there is no slowdown with a near-indefatigable 18-month-old in the house) – outreach through astronomy writing specifically, and astronomy writing in general. The adjustment to accomplish this was made through, after eight years, my stepping away from CNY Observers website and membership duties this past September (you will notice the finality of the most recent site post). The CNYO site is sub-hosted and paid up for some time to come, so its record of activities will remain.

Browser-readable version: www.astropublishing.com/6FAM2020/

Jump to the PDF download (14.2 MB): November-December 2020

Free Astronomy Magazine – July-August 2020 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: Featured background from the article "A supernova or Sagittarius – which should we thank?" A graphic reconstruction of our galaxy, made on the basis of NASA images, by Nick Risinger (and available in various sizes and formats from commons.wikimedia.org).

The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (July-August 2020) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure at www.astropublishing.com (click the link to go directly to the issue).

July-August 2020 includes a selected survey of astronomical content of local and cosmological interest from NASA/ESA, ESO, ALMA, as well as three feature articles from our fearless leader/editor Michele Ferrara. The feature articles in this issue discuss:

  1. "All the planets of Proxima Centauri" – the science for this article was quite literally being published as the article itself was being put together, about as fast a processing of journal-article-to-magazine as one can do while putting others together.
  2. "A supernova or Sagittarius – which should we thank?" – I've mentioned in many lectures that our own Sun is either the second or third stellar inhabitant in our vicinity, with a local supernova sparking the formation of it and our Solar System way back when. Recent studies indicate that other events 5-ish billion years ago might have instigated the events that lead to "us."
  3. "The principle of mediocrity and the habitability of galaxies" – lump this use of the word "mediocrity" with the scientific use of the word "theory," please. It is a joy to know that fundamental debates are being had in the astronomy and astrophysics literature and that there remains plenty, plenty yet to know for those pondering their futures in STEM.

For those wanting a quick look at what the issue has to offer, the Table of Contents is reproduced below.

The web browser-readable version: www.astropublishing.com/4FAM2020/

Jump right to the PDF download (15 MB): July-August 2020