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Astronomy, January 1 2010
By: Charles Rector | Newsletter | 5:34pm, January 5, 2010
Astronomy Newsletter
January 1, 2010
News: This week's astronomy headlines

Barry Roal Carlsen/ University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stellar mosh pit resolves a mystery
Study shows blue stragglers steal mass from companion stars. Read more.

 Sponsored by 1-800 Destiny

Manufacturers of Curved Vane Telescope Spiders and accessories
Our spiders have been installed in small home scopes to large professional-grade telescopes. Our designs are proven, and stable; our selection is diverse enough to fit almost any application. or call
 Inside Astronomy's February 2010 issue

The February 2010 Astronomy magazine, on newsstands January 5, counts down the 10 most exciting astronomy stories of 2009, explains how astronomers probe weather on exoplanets, provides 10 tips for Moon watchers, explores the world of meteorite collecting, and more. The magazine also sky tests Explore Scientific's 5-inch refractor.

Get a sneak peek inside the issue here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today to take advantage of all Astronomy and have to offer.
 Save big!


*Observe easy-to-find objects in the 2009-2010 winter sky
Astronomy magazine Senior Editor Richard Talcott explains how you can see a meteor shower, several bright planets, notable constellations, and bright deep-sky objects this winter. Watch the video.

*This video is available to registered members of Registration is FREE, so sign up today at!

More videos:
Winter observing targets for small telescopes, with Astronomy Senior Editor Michael E. Bakich
Winter observing targets for large telescopes, with Astronomy Editor David J. Eicher

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today to watch all's subscriber videos.

Watch more videos from Astronomy magazine.
 Don't miss this special issue

Observing tools: This week's sky, StarDome, podcast

January sky highlights
One of the great pleasures in observing the night sky is viewing the planets through a telescope. At almost any time of the year, either Jupiter or Saturn (or both) will be on display. Add to those the occasional appearances of Mercury and Venus, and there's always something new to see.

Mars ranks as more of a rarity. Once every 26 months or so, the Red Planet makes a grand appearance. That time is now. Mars reaches opposition and peak visibility in January, when it rightfully claims the bulk of our planet-viewing attention.

Mars does have some competition, however. Brilliant Jupiter makes its final stand in the evening sky before twilight swallows it. Shortly before midnight, Saturn joins the scene. And with Saturn high in the south before dawn in late January, Mercury puts on a nice show.

Astronomy magazine subscribers have access to the full version of The Sky this Month at Magazine subscribers also have access to advanced features with StarDome PLUS.

To find out when more observable objects will appear in your sky, visit's sky events calendar.

Each week, Astronomy magazine Senior Editor Michael Bakich, a master at explaining how to observe, posts a podcast about three objects or events you can see in the sky.

Targets for January 1-8, 2010
Naked eye: Double star Alnitak
Small telescope: Open cluster NGC 1817
Large telescope: Oyster Nebula

Listen to podcast.

This week's podcast is sponsored by Celestron.

The weekly podcast is available to registered members of Registration is FREE, so sign up at to make sure you don't miss an episode!
 Don't miss out on Astronomy's 2010 calendar!

Community: Blogs, reader gallery, forums, polls

Avatar's Pandora made possible
Posted by Bill Andrews, Assistant Editor

At the risk of being pegged as Astronomy's entertainment reporter, I wonder what you all think about James Cameron's latest sci-fi epic, Avatar. To those of a certain age, Cameron may be best-known as Mr. Titanic, but he's also the guy who brought us Aliens, the Terminator movies, and The Abyss. Clearly, the guy knows how to make a movie. And so far, Avatar has received pretty good reviews, in addition to semi-fawning descriptions of the apparently revolutionary technology that went into making it. Plus it's in 3-D. Read more.

Read all of the editors' blog posts here.

Galaxies Gallery:
NGC 891
John Bishop captured this image of NGC 891, an edge-on spiral galaxy 27 million light-years distant in Andromeda, from Beeville, Texas.

Picture of the day:
Triangulum Galaxy (M33)
Bob and Janice Fera from Foresthill, California, took this image.

Nebulae Gallery:
Orion Nebula
Warren Spreng, member "warbird123," posted this image December 27, 2009.

Check out all our galleries:
What is your astronomy-related New Year's resolution? Vote here.

Send us your astronomy questions
Perplexed by planets? Confused by cosmology? Baffled by black holes? Then send in your questions to or on

If you have an astronomy question about observing, equipment, the planets, stars, cosmology, or astronomy history, send it in! Astronomy magazine editors select five questions each month for publication in the Ask Astro section of the magazine. If your question is selected, we will forward it to an expert for a response. Then, the question and answer will appear together in a future issue. We may edit or revise your question for clarity.

Astronomy magazine subscribers have access to the Ask Astro archive. It's a great resource to satisfy your astronomy curiosity, and features hundreds of questions and answers! Not a magazine subscriber? Subscribe today to take advantage of all Astronomy and have to offer.
 Join Astronomy's 2010 eclipse cruise

 Forward this newsletter

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