Dark energy: it's the mysterious force that's tearing the universe apart. But, as we explore in this issue, we're slowly but surely beginning to crack one of the biggest mysteries of the universe. What is it? How does it determine the fate of the universe? How will the cosmos actually end – will it be a Big Crunch or a Big Rip? Over on page 16 the astrophysicists have the answers – and precisely where we're at in our unravelling of this invisible portion of the cosmos.
Of course, this is the last issue of the year, so it makes sense that we give you a round-up of the events that'll be happening throughout 2019, featuring the best stargazing events, rocket launches and even some brand-new missions on a quest to answer the most pressing questions in the cosmos. With New Horizons finally arriving at 2014 MU69 – or, perhaps the easier to remember, Ultima Thule – on 1 January 2019, we've provided everything you need to know about the very first flyby of a Kuiper Belt Object, in the words of New Horizons’ principal investigator Alan Stern.
And that's not all – we've revealed the hottest astronomy products that you need to buy in the New
Year – from the latest in astroimaging to the best telescopes (whatever your level of ability) – to make your experiences under the night sky all the more exquisite.
Merry Christmas and a Happy
New Year – hope it's a good one!