Archive for April 27th, 2018


Summer lookback time: my article in the June 2018 Sky & Telescope

April 27, 2018

The June 2018 Sky & Tel should be on newsstands any day now, and it has a feature article that is the culmination of a personal quest. By far my favorite among my previous Sky & Tel articles is “Twelve Steps to Infinity” from the December 2016 issue. But as much as I love that article, it only covered the winter sky, so it was incomplete – I needed to do a matching article for the summer months. That’s the new article out this month, and it doesn’t just match “Twelve Steps”, it exceeds it. As I say in the new article, in it I “start out a little closer, end up much farther out, and see a more diverse set of targets”, from the closest star visible to Northern Hemisphere observers (other than the Sun), to a quasar more than two billion light years away.

I owe a huge thanks to my editor, Diana Hannikainen, for making the data table and for numerous improvements to the text. Her name’s not on the article, but it probably should be, so many and so helpful were her suggestions.

There’s a LOT of other interesting stuff in this issue. I’ve written here many times about my visits to the big historical telescopes on Mount Wilson and Palomar Mountain, all of which were built at the instigation of George Ellery Hale, whose legacy of monster scopes is explored in this issue. Also, there are not one but three articles on asteroids, the scars of past impacts, and the threat of future ones, which is timely given my recent talk on the subject.

I hope you enjoy my new article. As always, suggestions for improvements are welcome, and the comment field is open.