Wrap up warm and step out­side – the skies await

Sky at Night Magazine - - NEWS -

There can be a real chill in the air when you’re out un­der clear night-time skies at this time of year, so what’s on your ob­serv­ing list bet­ter be worth it. Luck­ily, on page 32 we have Will Gater to take us on a tour of 12 of the most ex­cit­ing star clus­ters to see in this month’s skies. Whether you have a scope or a pair of binoc­u­lars, there’ll be some­thing for you.

Once you’ve seen those, you’ll find the rest of the month’s best ob­serv­ing in the Sky Guide, from page 49. Pete Lawrence and Stephen Tonkin are your guides to this month’s plan­ets, stars, as­ter­oids, ar­ti­fi­cial satel­lites and more. Don’t for­get to wrap up warm!

It’s doubt­ful that you’d need win­ter cloth­ing on the ex­o­plan­ets that are the topic of our fea­ture on page 39: all seven worlds around the star TRAPPIST-1 or­bit closer than Mer­cury does to the Sun. One year on from the dis­cov­ery, Louisa Pre­ston con­sid­ers what we’ve learnt about sur­face con­di­tions and the pos­si­bil­ity of life in this re­mark­able plan­e­tary sys­tem.

Al­though we’re un­likely to get to TRAPPIST-1 in per­son (it’s 40 lightyears from Earth), judg­ing by the progress of vir­tual tech­nolo­gies we may well be able to visit an imag­in­ing of it soon. On page 70, El­iz­a­beth Pear­son ex­plores the vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ences out there for astronomers to­day – every­thing from VR tours of the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion and doc­u­men­taries of the Apollo 11 land­ings to star charts you can fly through to visit the plan­ets of the So­lar Sys­tem.

En­joy the is­sue!

Chris Bram­ley Edi­tor

PS Our next is­sue goes on sale on 15 Fe­bru­ary.

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