The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a great opportunity to try something new, even if you are the most avid of astronomers already. From contributing to real scientific research at the Galaxy Zoo, to tracing the Sun’s analemma, measuring a variable star or proving that Saturn really could float in water, there is something for everyone in our list of astronomy-themed new year resolutions.
In other features Keith Cooper takes a look at a new era of detecting and capturing images of alien worlds, Kulvinder Singh Chadha explores the latest Kuiper Belt Object to be promoted to dwarf planet status, and Martin Mobberley picks out the best variable nebula to observe.
In this month’s Focus Keith Cooper and Neil English visit the curious world of multiple star systems, from strongly interacting contact binaries to ‘hang loose’ doubles. The tour will take you to Castor, Mizar, Alcor and omicron Eridani, before ending with a discourse on some of the highly energetic interactions that produce X-ray phenomena such as plasma outflows, X-ray binaries and colliding wind binaries.
Plus all our regular features including a night sky tour of the gems of Orion, structures that inhabit the Universe in Starting from Scratch, and how to intensify your images in Tech Talk.