Special Issue! Free Astronomy Magazine – March/April 2020 Issue Available For Download

Above: The changed technology of libraries and library lectures (all used), including a slide projector (property of my late, great-uncle Gus Columbus) with a two-slide carousel (and a book of slides for which any spelling errors were deemed too expensive to fix), an LCD projector (I had to have one because Stu Forster had one), for which fresh slide updates and audio/video are no problem in a darkened room, and a Sandisk USB stick with built-in wifi to transfer slides to an existing projector system by USB and to set up a local network for attendees to download media after the presentation.

Yes, a series of articles about the importance of amateur astronomers coming together as a community through outreach, just in time for a global pandemic to keep everyone from coming together (for a while, anyway).

The March/April 2020 issue of Free Astronomy Magazine has been available for your downloading pleasure for (a, here, long) three weeks, featuring an opening article by myself and an international perspective (Spain, Catalonia and Italy) by the editor Michele Ferrara and other contributing language editors on the general topics of the state of amateur astronomy and outreach in our respective locations.

We were all given great flexibility in our content, so I went with a very CNY-centric perspective on some of the great observing/outreach events, as well as their hosts, we’ve known in the past decade-or-so (while trying to name-drop all the area astronomy clubs in the process). These include shout-outs to some of the better-known lectures/observers, including David Bishop with ASRAS, Larry Slosberg with CNYO, James Callens with Western NY Astronomers, Bob Piekiel and his near-rock-solid monthly schedule at Baltimore Woods, my favorite classicist and dark sky proponent Prof. John McMahon, and the late, great Barlow Bob.

Writing an article that then undergoes several translations is an interesting exercise in clear thoughts and limited, in my case, Americanisms. Ain’t easy as pie, dig? I suspect all of us contributing articles could have gone into all kinds of additional details about our experiences and other ways we’ve seen the astronomy scene change over these many years in terms of technology and outreach activities, but the need to not melt the brains of our fellow editors forces a kind of brevity (unlike this sentence). Michele continues to have my utmost respect for taking on the task of first-pass translations to hand off to each of us in these cases to produce a great bimonthly multi-language magazine.

The science returns with the May/June issue. In the meantime, please give this issue a good read. If any of the discussion peaks your interest and you’ve something to say about it, consider dropping Michele a line, commenting on the Free Astronomy Magazine Facebook page, or otherwise drop me a line.

Specifically so – if you fall into the category of potential public amateur astronomer described in the final section of my article, I urge you to consider making your presence known to your community – after your 14-day self-isolation, of course (you should easily get a number of presentation slides together with two free weeks).

Free Astronomy Magazine – November-December 2019 Issue Available For Reading And Download

The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (November-December 2019) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure at www.astropublishing.com (click the link to go directly to the issue).

As editor-in-chief Michele Ferrara alludes to early in his “flexible concept” article on page 38, there’s been quite the transition into the study of exoplanets and the potentials for habitability as a way to more credibly have the discussion about alien life.

His article on page 22 is worth the read for those who think it’s not a question of “if” but of “how often?”

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/6FAM2019/

Jump right to the PDF download (14 MB): November-December 2019

Apollo Special Part 1! Free Astronomy Magazine – May-June 2019 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: The ultimate anti-selfie, taken by astronaut Michael Collins while awaiting the docking of the lunar module “Eagle,” lunar orbit, Apollo 11, 1969. Credit: Michael Collins (and NASA for the travel assist).

The text below was written by Collins while in orbit – and isolation – as Neil and Buzz took America’s (dare I say, the world’s) first steps on the Moon:

“I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.”

The above image is one of my prized desktop backgrounds and one I try to work into every astronomy talk I give – if for no other reason than how different it is from every other photo ever taken. At the time this image was taken, in the history of the entire planet, everyone who isn’t Michael Collins – living and dead – is on the *other* side of the camera. It’s the ultimate anti-selfie.

Such is the kind of comment that will fly around the internets this summer with the 50th Anniversary of the absolutely-historic, monumental-achievement, why-do-moon-landing-hoaxers-hate-America-? Apollo 11 mission.

As part of that anniversary celebration, Michele Ferrara at Free Astronomy Magazine has worked up an excellent two-parter on the mission itself, starting with a massive article and image spread in the May-June 2019 issue.

Of course, you can’t go a month without reporting on The Event Horizon Telescope release of our first image of a black hole (this one in prime observing target Messier 87). An excellent, packed issue all around for your consideration.

As always, please download, read, and pass along. Also, check out the many back issues at www.astropublishing.com

astropublishing.com/3FAM2019/ | Direct PDF

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