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 – September-October 2020 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: The constellation Orion in all of its nebulous glory. Orange Betelgeuse is to be found in the lower-left. Imaging by Scott Rosen, astronomersdoitinthedark.com

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

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

  1. “Betelgeuse – 100 years of uncertainties” – this article was 100 years in the making, but found itself updated with as-of-August scientific reporting in the final 100 hours before going to print (well, 150). The previous (pre-August) analyses were believed to be an adequate explanation, then the new reports indicate that that previous explanation did not, by itself, explain everything observed by us all since late last year.
  2. “In the mind of ET” – Continuing a multi-issue exobiology thread, this next article is a very interest perspective on the state of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (and not just SETI), based on the recent NASA award of Adam Frank (and collaborators) at the University of Rochester.

The browser-readable version: www.astropublishing.com/5FAM2020/

Jump right to the PDF download (15 MB): September-October 2020

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