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Refined taste

BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

It always amazes me how often manufacturers are refining, tweaking and improving their astro equipment.  

466 equipment reviews and counting!

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

This September, BBC Sky at Night magazine reaches a major milestone, our 100th issue. Since June 2005 when the first issue hit the newsstand the reviews section has played a major part in the magazine’s success.

Solar sleuths

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

After what seems like an eternity we've been having some great weather here in the UK. Of course, the light summer nights don't help if you are a deep-sky explorer, but astronomy doesn’t have to be limited to after dark. At long last the Sun is out so now’s the perfect time to take a look at it.

Accessible accessories

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

No matter what astronomy kit you buy, there’s a good chance that there’ll be something you can add to it to enhance its usefulness and performance. Many manufacturers and suppliers offer equipment and associated accessories as packages, but what constitutes a package is largely up to them. Fortunately, most packages have been put together using common sense.

Predictions from the past

A study of old aurora records has helped develop predictions about future solar activity

Credit: Thinkstock

Visual records of aurorae offer a longer-term view of solar activity than the telescopic sunspot record.

Has Earth life colonised the Solar System?

An asteroid impact could have sent life-bearing material from Earth out to the other planets

Credit: Thinkstock

During the Late Heavy Bombardment, collisions with large asteroids were far more frequent than they are now.

The true nature of our ambiguous ally

Jupiter’s apparent shielding effect might not be all it’s cracked up to be

Nearby Jupiter exerts a powerful influence over life on Earth, and I obviously don’t mean that in the sense of astrology. The planet’s gravity dominates the orbital dynamics of other objects in the Solar System. But is that for better or worse as far as we’re concerned?

Unravelling a rotational riddle

Balls of gas could explain exoplanets with strange orbits and the galaxy’s missing mass

Credit: NASA/NOAO/ESA/the Hubble Helix Nebula Team/M. Meixner (STScI and T.A. Rector (NRAO)

Hot gas ejected from the Helix Nebula as imaged by Hubble in 2003

A Universe of possibilities

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

You can enjoy practicing astronomy in many different ways, from simple visual observations with the naked eye, to viewing with veritable light buckets like the big Dobsonians. Then there’s astrophotography, which ranges from simply pointing a camera up at the sky to delving deeper with autoguiding systems and capturing far-flung galaxies or even pushing the planetary limit with the latest webcams.

Seeds from space

Complex organic molecules in interstellar dust clouds could have sparked life on Earth

 

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC/Caltech)

Genesis: space-borne complex carbon molecules may have spawned life on Earth. 

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