We live in the age of Big Astronomy, where it seems every new telescope is bigger, and supposedly better than the last. But January's cover story issues a cautionary tale. Contributing editor Robert Zimmerman describes the challenges facing four huge scopes — now they serve as potent lessons for the upcoming generation of megatelescopes. We also found that "bigger is better" doesn't necessarily apply to astronomy equipment: in this issue, you'll find your ultimate gear guide to 28 of the hottest products for 2015. Drool over an $15,000 astrograph or pick up that free planetarium app — there's something here for everyone. And January holds many opportunities to use that telescope and all its gadgets, whether they be old or new: check out variable star R Geminorum, eclipsing binary Alpha Comae Berenices, or deep-sky objects galore. Brave the cold and embrace the winter sky!
Hubble Goes the Distance
Using nature's gravitational lenses, astronomers are pushing the space telescope to its very limits to reveal primordial galaxies.
By Govert Schilling
Hot Products for 2015
Our 17th annual roundup of Hot Products highlights the most intriguing new astronomer gear on the market.
By the Editors of Sky & Telescope
The Backyard Sky: Winter
Embrace the cold nights of winter to observe these seasonal delights.
By Rod Mollise
The world's largest optical telescopes have had to overcome serious hurdles, delaying their scientific successes.
By Robert Zimmerman
Composing the Universe
Planning your composition can raise your imaging to a whole new level.
By Robert Gendler
Beyond the Printed Page
Mutual Events Among Jupiter's Moons
Find out how to watch Jovian moons eclipse and occult one another.
Mergers Create Pancake Galaxies by Camille M. Carlisle
Watch two galaxies collide, and see what radio a.
Fighting for Dark Skies
Learn more about one club's battle against light pollution.
Lunar Librations by Sean Walker
Librations and other lunar data for January 2015.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
Venus and Mercury Draw Close
Nightfall reveals a planetary pairing.
By Fred Schaaf
Vigil for a Unique Stellar Eclipse
Against incredible odds, this naked-eye star may self-eclipse for the first time seen.
By Alan MacRobert
An Observational Mystery
What causes Io's enigmatic brightening?
By Thomas A. Dobbins
Table of Contents
See what else December's issue has to offer.