Inside the August 2018 Issue

America's Eclipse: One Year Later

In the August 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope, we look back on last August's eclipse. Learn about the results of research done during the Moon's transit across the Sun. Discover how a planet-scale smash managed to make a moon so like Earth. Explore the planetary nebulae within the celestial Eagle, Aquila. Visit an Hawaiian mountaintop for a stellar view. Use your own equipment to solve the riddle of NGC 6543. In this issue, we also share a impressive build for an optimized Dobsonian. Check out our observing picks for the month, explore an enigmatic crater on the Moon, and see if you can catch all five planets that will grace the night sky throughout August! Enjoy these and other stories in the August 2018 issue of Sky & Telescope.

Feature Articles

Total solar eclipse of August 2017

Few natural events can match seeing a total solar eclipse. The next one isn't that far in the future — on July 2, 2019!
Sky & Telescope / Sean Walker

Shadow Science
Researchers studied last year’s solar spectacle with unprecedented intensity.
By C. Alex Young

A Picture-Perfect Eclipse Experiment
The author redid Eddington’s famous test with astounding success.
By Donald Bruns

The Moon Mess
A planet-scale smash created Earth’s satellite. But how did it manage to make a moon so like Earth?
By Javier Barbuzano

Aquila’s Gems
The celestial Eagle offers a plethora of planetary nebulae.
By Ted Forte

The Riddle of the Nebulae
Using your own equipment, you can experience the historic observation that changed astronomy.
By Howard Banich

A Night on Haleakalā
Visit the other Hawaiian mountaintop mecca to the stars.
By Richard S. Wright, Jr.

Beyond the Printed Page

Dust fills the giant canyon Valles Marineris at 16:55 UTon June 13, permitting Darren Ellemor to record the feature with just a 6-inch Celestron SCT.

Gaia Maps 1.7 Billion Stars, Widens Cosmic Census
Peruse the original article on Gaia's new map, including additional images and an animated view of the Hyades star cluster.

Uranus and Neptune
Read a short history of the ice giants and grab handy up to date finder charts at the end.

Mars Profiler Tool
Use this tool to learn which side of Mars is visible and more for any date and time. Best of all, it shows a map of Mars so that you can identify any bright and dark markings you see.

Lunar Librations and Phases of the Moon
Librations and other lunar data for August 2018.


Akira Fujii

All My Mars at Once — Part 2
Join the author as he continues down Martian Memory Lane.
By Fred Schaaf

And Then There Were Five
Four bright planets grace the skies, and tiny Mercury appears at the end of the month.
By Fred Schaaf

The Crater that Cried Wolf
An enigmatic crater in Mare Nubium refuses to give up its true nature.
By Charles Wood

Cynus Puzzlers
Get to know these deep-sky strangers this summer.
By Sue French

Table of Contents
See what else August's issue has to offer.

30 thoughts on “Inside the August 2018 Issue

  1. Greg DeCosta

    What is with this Zinio? I can’t save the issue to my computer as PDF. How inconvenient is that.
    Please let me know what I am missing, be cause now zinio says there are no issues saved in the library.
    If something is not broken, let not change for change sake.

      1. Dan

        Hi Monica. I too ask that you please continue making digital issues available as PDFs that do not require yet another app, a Zinio account, or other acrobatics. Many thanks!


      Yes i agree … What is this ? I am not willing to print the digital issue … i want to be able to download all my digital issues , so i can read them when i am on travel without internet access . I hope this problem will be fixed as soon as possible

      Stephan Buetler

        1. winston

          Zinio has not been available offline for months.It is a mess and I do not know where to begin.Astronomy switched and my magazines go missing and some are blurred.Software is compatible for windows 8. Windows 8? If I pay for digital I expect to own it.


            Maybe I’m too outdated, but I not believe in online libraries, and I trust only in my hard disk PDF archive (the only worthy alternative to classic print version). S&T has been published for almost 80 years, but what about online libraries?
            I want to have guarranteed access to any magazine I purchased, in 10, 20 and 50 years. I understand that all these trends are creating for stopping illegal copying. Yes, but I’m an honest subscriber, like everyone who writes here. Please add opportunity to make PDF copy to hard disk drive. Thank you!

  2. Phil-Yehle

    I am also having a problem with this new digital format. I want to have a PDF I can store on my computer to access any time. I don’t want to have to go to Zinio to do it. I bet that if our subscription runs out we won’t have access to old issues. If this isn’t resolved I may have to go with the paper much for saving the environment.

  3. brhebert

    The recent article about spectroscopy of planetary nebula mentions the use of a diffraction grating but seems to carefully omit any specific information to allow us to research this equipment or its use.
    Did you specifically omit the commercial identification of the equipment or can you provide us more information about beginning our own spectroscpical observations?

    1. Janine Myszka

      Hello, I’ve reached out to Howard and this is what he had to say about the diffraction grating:

      “I got my Rainbow Optics Star Spectroscope diffraction grating and lens cell at OPT a little over a year ago:

      But unfortunately they’ve discontinued it. It looks like just the diffraction grating is available here though:

      It might be worth calling OPT to see if they can get more of the Rainbow Optics Star Spectroscope kit, or perhaps they can advise another place to get them. I hope they’re not gone for good, but if they are, the lens cell holds a simple astigmatic lens that should be pretty straightforward for anyone to make. I’d bet it would work just to hold the lens in front of the eyepiece.”

  4. astrodan2012

    I’m a long-term subscriber to Sky & Telescope, which I consider to be the best astronomy magazine available today (worldwide). Please keep up the excellent work.

    I used to subscribe to the print edition of the magazine, but a couple of years ago switched to the digital edition of the which I found to be perfect for me. I really appreciated the convenience of being able to read the magazine on my Mac, iPad or phone. Even being able to read it on a break at work.

    This was all possible because digital subscribers were able to download PDF versions of the magazine, and that format is widely supported across so many different platforms.

    With the August 2018 issue, you seem to have switched to another distribution company (Zinio, I think) and I don’t seem to be able to download a PDF version anymore. If this isn’t correct, could you please let me know how I can do this? You can also ignore the remainder of this email if that is the case!

    There are many problems with this change:

    * I’ve been forced to create yet another account on some website that I’ve never heard of in order to read a magazine that I’ve already paid for. To do this I’ve had to share my personal information with yet another company that at some point in the future will probably get hacked and leak it all over the internet.

    * I am now forced to read the magazine on my Mac via the Zinio website (after, of course, I’ve gone through all the hassle of trying to remember my new username and password). It is not good. This is no way near as frictionless and intuitive as it has always been with the standard PDF viewer on the Mac. Previously when a new edition came out, I’d simply download the PDF file, drop it in my ‘Sky and Telescope’ folder on my secure iCloud Drive, and it would be available in seconds across all my devices.

    * If I want to read the magazine on my phone or iPad, I have to either do so through the website, or apparently I can install some additional software on these devices to allow me to read it. Why should I have to install software on all these different devices, just to read a magazine I’ve already purchased?

    * The final point I’d like to make is that whilst the text is very legible on Zinio, as it has always been with the PDFs, the quality of the images in the magazine is now noticeably poorer. They clearly show signs of being over-compressed. Sky and Telescope has always had the most magnificent images of the

    And one final, final thing. While I have been writing this email, Zinio have begun to spam me. Apparently “ESPN’s Body Issue is out now!”, living in the UK I have no idea what that is.

    Please go back to downloadable PDFs, please!!

    (Originally sent as an email and posted here afterwards.)

  5. Sepp12

    I am reading the S&T Magazine (Print and digital since availble) over 30 years.
    The solution with ZINIO is in a very simple word “crap”.
    – I cannot downlioad the issue in PDF Format
    – I must have an onlionbe connection to read the issue
    – I installed the app on my Android tablet, used the same login info and I canot find the August issue
    – How can I access my old digital issues after renewing my subscription
    You had a perfect solution and now you changed to something which is not acceptable.
    Please go back to downloadable PDFs, please!


    Agree with the comments re. Zinio. I have canceled the renewal of my digital subscription and will reluctantly go back to paper. My tablet and phone are nearly full – don’t need more apps. I too save my PDF’s to the cloud and read with existing apps.

  7. Bill

    So this is why I can’t see, let alone download a PDF copy of the August issue of Sky & Telescope? I have the Zinio reader, which I have to use to read MacWorld, but it only offers to SELL me a copy of Sky & Telescope, to which I have subscribed since 1979. And if it works like the Macworld issues, I won’t be able to download a PDF copy of Sky & Telescope either.

    This is a terrible decision. I am very close to canceling my Macworld subscription because of their switch to Zinio as their distributor; they stopped printing the magazine a couple of years ago. Is this the future of Sky & Telescope also?

    Please reconsider this extremely bad decision and let us download PDF copies of the magazine we have paid for.


    I must agree with all of the comments about Zinio and the move away from PDFs. I have had no end of problems with Zinio who distribute another astronomy magazine and am utterly dismayed that S&T has gone with Zinio. It is just not right that I cannot get the issues I paid for. Please, please consider moving far away from Zinio!

  9. PierreBrunet

    Hello all,

    I am afraid I have to agree with all what was said above, on Zinio and pdf download.
    I miss the comfort of reading offline S&T as a pdf file, on my PC, on my smartphone. Copying and deleting them as I need.
    I am not very keen to install this Zinio app I’ve never heard about, in my quite full devices.

    The 2018 August issue of SkyandTelescope may coincide with the end of a story.


  10. Dominick-Iascone

    Can’t access the August digital issue! I clicked on “YOUR DIGITAL ISSUES”, and the site gives me “SORRY!
    We can’t find the page you’re looking for. Why not try one of these options?”, etc.

  11. Gilles H.-Bisson

    Hi Monica, received an email stating September issue was out on Zinio…but it is not. As the others, I am waiting for the PDF downloadable issue.

  12. George-Holub

    I agree with the previous posts on Zinio and lack of pdf downloads. Either fix this issue or indicate that pdf downloads are no longer available – I don’t believe that you’ve actually stated the pdf downloads are available. I am both a print and digital subscriber who just extended my subscription.

  13. Rich

    In “Aquila’s Gems”, the table on p. 38 (The Eagle’s Gems), where did you get the data for “Surface Brightness”?
    The surface brightness data is inconsistent with the “Size” and magnitude data. Surface brightness only depends on size and magnitude.
    There are 4 planetaries in the table with size=10″. The differences in surface brightness are only due to the magnitude of the planetary. And the difference in surface brightness should be the same as the difference in magnitude and they are not.
    In fact, “M 1-66” is brighter than “M 1-69”, but the table has fainter surface brightness for it even thought they have the same size in the table!

All comments must follow the Sky & Telescope Terms of Use and will be moderated prior to posting. Please be civil in your comments. Sky & Telescope reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter’s username, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.