The newest issue (Vol. 51 No. 3+4) of Mercury magazine is now available for our members!
This issue of Mercury is a special one. It’s a double issue with a wide variety of content, including recent spacecraft results, tips for hosting events relating to the upcoming solar eclipses, the intertwined history of amateur astronomy and professional astronomy, and even news about the long-sought star catalog from ancient Greek observer Hipparchus. The variety hints at something very exciting that’s been happening behind the scenes here at Mercury and the ASP. We’ve been planning something big — although we’re not yet ready to reveal those details. Rest assured, though, that as part of this future of Mercury, you’ll still read about astronomical history, new scientific developments, successful outreach experiences, and even more ways astronomy interacts with culture. For now, though, I hope you enjoy reading this double issue.
Featured in this issue:
- In September 2022, Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) became the first asteroid-deflecting spacecraft to demonstrate how to nudge the path of an asteroid out of harm’s way. While the binary asteroid system targeted by DART, Didymos and its “moonlet” Dimorphos, was never a potential threat to Earth, the mission’s success has the potential to move planetary defense from the drawing board to reality.
- In 2023 and 2024, two solar eclipses will be visible throughout the United States, and we have a great opportunity to enable students and others to enjoy a rare spectacle. Astronomy professor Douglas Duncan provides a guide to help you prepare yourself, students, friends, and neighbors for the upcoming eclipses. Think of this article as a must-read primer to improve people’s eclipse-viewing experience.
- Amateur astronomy groups are in every state — and across the globe. They provide a sense of community for space-interested folks, do impactful local science communication, and contribute to scientific discoveries. They cultivate an interest in astronomy, for some inspiring careers and for others a great hobby, or at least a greater appreciation for the universe. Where did these groups come from, and why is there this divide between “amateur” and “professional” astronomy?
- The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) each year recognizes individual achievements in astronomy research, technology, education, and public outreach with the organization’s awards. Recipients of our awards have included luminaries such as Edwin Hubble, Vera Rubin, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Burbidge, Carl Sagan, and Katherine Johnson. Late last year, we honored seven individuals who are doing wonderful work in-line with the ASP’s mission.
- We also have our regular columnists discussing the merits and pitfalls of cellphones in the classroom, introducing some of the most distant galaxies ever seen, searching for the first astronomer, and more. Download your copy of Mercury today to read all the latest space news and opinion!
Liz Kruesi is the editor of Mercury magazine and Mercury Online. She has shared the stories of astronomy since 2005. Read more articles by Liz.