Variable stars is our theme for May – stars that vary dramatically in brightness over hours, days, months or even years. The key to following their variations is the light curve, as Keith Cooper and Gemma Lavender explain, before looking at a particular class of pulsating star, the Cepheid variables, which have changed the way we look at the Universe. Finally, they take a look at the violent world of eclipsing binaries and cataclysmic variables.
Elsewhere we look at the weather forecast for Saturn’s moon Titan, which habours methane rain and a somewhat chilly temperature of -179 celsius. Keith Cooper finds out what drives the weather on Titan, while Joseph Baneth Allen meets the scientists on a question to find the missing asteroids – the Vulconoids – lurking between Mercury and the Sun. Sir Patrick Moore describes how, during the Second World War, he was able to take advantage of black outs and night time bombing raids to still observe the night sky.
In our regular section Telescope Talk, Martin Mobberley reminds you how to keep your telescope safe and Nick Howes looks at some recession busting tactics to keep doing astronomy in the lean times. Ninian Boyle compares an upgrade for the Vixen Sphinx mount with its predecessor in In the Shops, and we present two sky tours of variable stars and globular clusters in our extensive night sky section.