Delighted to have as my first Solar System Ambassador article for the year the successful launch and delivery of the James Webb Space Telescope. With a hard cut-off for translation and publishing of February 15th for this issue, it was impossible to include the several significant updates to have occurred since the final edits went out for review. Just like the Perseverance article! Just like the DAVINCI+/VERITAS article! Something about trying to cover cutting-edge space science in a bi-monthly magazine translated into four languages…
Additional original content includes our fearless editor's extensive review of the detection and additional searching for Proxima b (with reports of the confirmation of Proxima d also coming just as this issue was version-locked for publication), as well as François Blateyron's article about sundials and the Shadows app – which I'd never before heard of before but am now inclined to try to expand the utility of the backyard garden.
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:
"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.
"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."
"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.