Inside the December 2006 Issue

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Sky & Telescope December 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Spectrum
What's in the Sky Tonight? By Richard Tresch Fienberg

Letters

News Notes
When Galaxies Assembled, SMART 1's Grand Finale, Former "10th Planet" Formally Named, and more . . .

Mission Update
By Jonathan McDowell

75, 50 & 25 Years Ago
By Leif J. Robinson

Spotlight On . . . Stardust in the Large Magellanic Cloud
A new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope highlights the role played by dust in the life cycles of stars. By Richard Tresch Fienberg

Where Did It All Come From?
Cosmologists are closing in on the question of what gave the Big Bang its bang.
By Anthony Aguirre

Messages from the Dark Side?
Have astronomers detected dark matter annihilating itself? By Govert Schilling

Sleep and the Amateur Astronomer
A professional astronomer and a photobiochemist share their tips for staying awake while observing late at night — and for getting restful sleep when your head hits the pillow. By Daniel B.Caton and Joan E. Roberts

read now
Rambling Through the Skies: Raising Hell
Throughout the centuries, Hades has run hot and cold. By E. C. Krupp

Northern Hemisphere's Sky
Whale Watching By Fred Schaaf

Northern Binocular Highlight
Magnificent M31 By Gary Seronik

Southern Binocular Highlight
Perfect Galaxy NGC 300 By Les Dalrymple

Southern Hemisphere's Sky
Galaxy Season By Greg Bryant

Sun, Moon, and Planets
A Challenging Planetary Grouping By Fred Schaaf

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Exploring the Moon
Lunar Tectonics By Charles A. Wood

Celestial Calendar
The Geminids: Best Meteors of the Year? By Alan MacRobert

Celestial Calendar
Iris: The Season's Brightest Asteroid By Greg Bryant

Eye on the Sky
Observing on the Edge By Stephen James O'Meara

Deep-Sky Wonders
A Whale of a Tale By Sue French

Observer's Log
Jupiter's Mini Red Spot Survives Encounter By Edwin L. Aguirre

Observer's Log
Chi Cygni's Unusually Bright Maximum By Edwin L. Aguirre

S&T Test Report:
The Bigha StarSeeker
Conceptually simple, an observing chair for binoculars requires a lot of subtle engineering. We test one that makes the grade in more ways than one. By Dennis di Cicco

S&T Test Report:
Mira AL: Powerful Introduction to Image Processing and Analysis
With its attractive price and impressive capabilities, this software is an ideal gateway to professional-quality imaging. By Joe Heafner

New Product Showcase
Super Planetary Telescope, Quality Binoculars, and more . . .

Books & Beyond
Ten Years of Life on Mars, Beyond the Multiverse, and more . . .

The Astronomy Scene
Detwinkling Starlight on Mauna Kea By Richard J. Wainscoat

Star Trails
What is a Planet? By David H. Levy

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Amateur Telescope Makers
A Bent Rich-Field Refractor By Robert Ayers

Hobby Q&A
When can we expect the next transit or occultation of one planet by another? Is it better to store a telescope in a climate-controlled house or a garage? and more . . .

Astrophotography
Bicolor Narrowband Astrophotography By Steve Cannistra

Gallery

Index to Advertisers

Focal Point
Stop Renaming the Sky By Mark Allison