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.

Free Astronomy Magazine – May-June 2020 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: This visible light wide-field view shows the rich star clouds in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer) in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The entire image is filled with vast numbers of stars — but far more remain hidden behind clouds of dust and are only revealed in infrared images. This view was created from photographs in red and blue light and forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The field of view is approximately 3.5 degrees x 3.6 degrees. ESO and Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin and S. Guisard

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

It is my hope that you had opportunity to read the perspectives from several amateur astronomers (myself included) and their organizations in the March-April issue (site announcement). May-June returns to the selected survey of astronomical content of local and cosmological interest from NASA/ESA, ESO, ALMA, as well as our fearless leader/editor Michele Ferrara. His isolation in Italy and my isolation in New York have provided us with a most unexpected exchange of updates during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is fortunate for us both that our shared avocations of writing and astronomy are as compatible with social distancing as they are. For myself, I've been fortunate that we've also had some excellent clear (albeit cold) nighttime skies recently.

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/3FAM2020/

Jump right to the PDF download (18 MB): May-June 2020

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).