When massive stars die, they go out in a blaze of glory, but understanding what makes them explode so violently is proving to be a puzzle. Some supernovae are the explosions of white dwarf stars, the already dead remnants of Sun-like stars - what makes these die twice? And why does galaxy NGC 6946 keep on lighting up with supernova explosions - nine in the past 92 years? Keith Cooper explores the weird and wonderful world of exploding stars in this months Focus.
Elsewhere, space artist Mark Garlick takes us on a voyage to some of the most breathtaking sights in the Universe, which our telescopes may not be able to show us in detail, but which artwork can, and as The Campaign for Dark Skies celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year we share in some of its successes over that time with its co-ordinator Bob Mizon.
August saw the longest total solar eclipse this century, which was clouded out for many but not Nick Howes, who describes the wonder in seeing this spellbinding act of nature. And from one act of nature to another: fifteen years after it last got whacked, Jupiter was struck again by an asteroid or comet. Keith Cooper describes what happened and Jeremy Perez relates the techniques necessary to sketch the new impact scar.
All this plus the latest news, reviews and society listings, and Britain's best observing guide to the night sky.