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Mercury Magazine Summer 2019

Sum19

The Summer 2019 issue of Mercury is LIVE! Featured in this issue:

  • A giant radio telescope in China displaced thousands of people during its construction, but now it’s complete and taking data, potentially changing our view of the cosmos forever.
  • Fifty years after NASA landed the first humans on the Moon, a global collaboration has been formed to ensure the lunar surface is explored in an open, peaceful and sustainable way.
  • A stunning view from the Moon when it was casting its shadow on the Earth during the July solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere.
  • We also have our regular columnists discussing how active black holes may kill (and stimulate) star formation in their host galaxies, the history behind the first use of the astrolabe in England, why galaxies in large clusters age prematurely, and the connection between cosmic voids and… Buddha? But that’s not all! Download your copy of Mercury today to read all the latest space news and opinion!

 

Table of Contents:

[8] Space News

A rundown of some of the most exciting developments in space and time.

[31] Cosmic Views, Jason Major

The Moon gives Earth some shade and a new view of the relativistic engine behind Einstein’s Cross.

[33] On the FAST Track, Steve Murray

A giant radio telescope in China displaced thousands of people during its construction, but now it’s complete and taking data.

[39] The Moon: Earth’s Eighth Continent? Tracy Staedter

A global collaboration has been formed to ensure the lunar surface is explored in an open, peaceful and sustainable way.


Departments: 

[3] Perspectives, Ian O’Neill

Time to Dump the “Habitable Zone”?

[4] First Word, Linda Shore

Dinosaurs, Astronomy, and Space Exploration

[6] ASP News

ASP 2019 Awards Announced!

[14] Annals of Astronomy, Clifford J. Cunningham

The Monk, Astrolabe and Lunar Eclipse of 1092

[16] Astronomer’s Notebook, Jennifer Birriel

How to Celebrate Apollo 11? Teach Its Science

[18] Armchair Astrophysics, Christopher Wanjek

Voids Fill in the Voids About Universal Expansion

[20] Research Focus, Arianna Long

Why Do Galaxies in Large Clusters Age Prematurely?

[23] Research Focus, James Negus

Are Supermassive Black Holes Galactic Regulators?

[25] Education Matters, Brian Kruse

Bridging the Learning Divide

[27] A Little Learning, C. Renee James

Just the Facts

[44] Reflections, Ian O’Neill

That’s No Lightsaber. That’s a Galaxy


 

On the FAST Track (Feature)

By Steve Murray

Tianyan (“the eye of heaven”) is open and astronomers are excited about what it’s seeing. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST)—the world’s biggest radio astronomy dish—is demonstrating its enormous potential, even while its commissioning tests are still underway.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST).

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST).

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). [National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences]

The Moon: Earth’s “Eighth Continent”? (Feature)

By Tracy Staedter

It’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong took a giant leap and became the first person to set foot on the Moon. Massive efforts to advance technology fueled by tensions with Russia created a race for the lunar surface that captivated the world. An estimated 650 million people tuned in to the televised event on July 20, 1969, according to NASA. America won, but the joy was short-lived. In just three short years, manned missions to the Moon would end with Apollo 17. No boot has kicked up lunar dust since. That’s about to change.

NASA/Gene Cernan

Astronaut Jack Schmitt makes his way to the Apollo 17 mission’s Moon buggy during the last human mission to the lunar surface in 1972.

Astronaut Jack Schmitt makes his way to the Apollo 17 mission’s Moon buggy during the last human mission to the lunar surface in 1972. [NASA/Gene Cernan]

Einstein’s Cross Is a Relativistic Wonder (Cosmic Views)

By Jason Major

The four bright spots in this image are actually all the same thing: the bright X-ray glow of the accretion disk surrounding an active supermassive black hole—a quasar—located over 9 billion light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. Between it and us lies an entire galaxy, “only” about 400 million light-years away, and the warping of space by its gravity is acting as a lens to bend the light from the distant quasar into a quadruple apparition known as Einstein’s Cross (Q2237+0305).

 

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory gets a good look of Einstein’s Cross.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory gets a good look of Einstein’s Cross.