Picture This

Triple crescents

A single crescent moon is a familiar sight in Earth’s sky, but with Saturn’s many moons, you can see three or even more. Rhea (top), Titan and Mimas (bottom) align for this image from NASA’s ongoing Cassini mission.


The mysterious ‘lakes’ on Saturn’s moon Titan

Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what forms the depressions on the surface? A new study using data from the joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini mission suggests the moon’s surface dissolves in a process that’s similar to the creation of sinkholes on Earth.

Book Reviews

Stories in the Stars

A retelling of the main constellation stories from the Graeco-Roman tradition with a light-hearted approach that also introduces some stories of the stars from other cultures. A nicely produced book with excellent drawings that can be recommended if you want a modern retelling of the constellation stories, writes reviewer Owen Brazell.

Book Reviews

The Astronomy Bible

Small, chunky and handy enough to be stuffed in a rucksack for quick facts and tips on the go, six of the book’s eight chapters cover the Solar System, the remainder being devoted to all that lies beyond. An easy-reading book that won’t swamp the reader with complicated terminology and a waffling narrative, writes reviewer Kerry Hebden.

Book Reviews

Introducing the Planets and their Moons

An excellent summary of the planets with the right amount of facts, writes reviewer Ian Welland. It uses a geological approach and each chapter deals with specific topics rather than being devoted to one planet in turn. “A super value book that will appeal to more than the beginner or younger reader,” he says.


Quasars result from violent galactic mergers

Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.


Hot lava flows discovered on Venus

The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbour planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations by previous missions to Venus have revealed it as a world covered in volcanoes and ancient lava flows.