Choosing the right astro-degree could take you on a journey of a lifetime to become a professional astronomer, and Astronomy Now’s comprehensive guide is here to help. We present listings of undergraduate degree courses in astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science, space engineering and related subjects, and also introduce a relatively new hands-on degree course in observation astronomy at Glamorgan University, South Wales, which is opening astronomy up to an even wider range of students. Alternatively, a night school course in GCSE astronomy may be just up your street if seeking a qualification in your favourite subject, or a distance learning course in astronomy with a top British university may be just what you need to get yourself back into education whilst working a full time job.
Elsewhere, Stephen Clark finds out what NASA’s Juno spacecraft – which is set to blast off this August – is going to be doing when it reaches the giant planet, and David Powell finds out what work goes into the humble shield, one of the most crucial components of spacecraft that have to brave atmospheric entry to achieve their goals, yet which are rarely highlighted. In a magnetosphere mini-series of articles Gemma Lavender learns about the Earth’s magnetic barrier that shields up from the harshness of the Sun’s radiation, and then turns to radio emissions from aurorae on exoplanets, which could reveal the presence of planetary magnetic fields that may help make such worlds habitable. Keith Cooper heads to the edge of the Solar System to check in with the Voyager spacecraft, now into their fourth decade, which are on the verge of leaving the Solar System. But, before they do, they are seeking to uncover how the Sun’s magnetic bubble is keeping cosmic rays at bay. And Alice Sheppard has a round-up of news from the 218th American Astronomical Meeting held in Boston in May.
Ace imager Nik Szymanek runs you through how to image three nebulae in Cygnus – the North America Nebula, the Crescent Nebula and the Veil Nebula – with the Hubble palette, and our Night Sky section also includes a super summer sky tour and Jeremy Perez’s Drawn to the Universe, this month describing how to sketch the Crescent Nebula. In Telescope Talk Martin Mobberley describes John Wall’s child-friendly telescope and the gear of top imager Dave Tyler, and we also review the AstroTrac TT320X-AG tracking mount.