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Your Guide to the Universe

StarDate magazine keeps you in touch with the universe with detailed skywatching information, in-depth features, the latest astronomy news, and more. Six issues per year, including the Sky Almanac issue in January! Subscribe today!

Current Issue: July/August 2021

In the July/August issue, we recall the accomplishments and discuss the legacy of the giant Arecibo radio telescope, which collapsed late last year. We’ll also tell you how scientists are helping prepare for future long-duration space missions.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Astronaut

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Astronaut
One of the biggest challenges of sending astronauts to Mars will be helping them cope with the stress of isolation and confinement.

A Giant Legacy

A Giant Legacy
Scientists mourn the loss of the Arecibo radio telescope while celebrating its many discoveries.


Merlin offers his views on contacting extraterrestrial civilizations, discusses lightspeed, and explains the Sun’s orbit around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Pose your own questions for future issues.

Sky Highlights

Summer’s signature star pattern, the Summer Triangle, stands well up in the east on July evenings, and even higher in August. At the same time, the curving body of Scorpius and the teapot of Sagittarius scuttle low across the south, anchoring the summer Milky Way. The planets Jupiter and Saturn, the giants of the solar system, are at their best in August, while Venus highlights the western sky shortly after sunset as the dazzling Evening Star.


The Perseverance rover snapped this view of its surroundings on Mars on April 29, its 68th day on the Red Planet. NASA/JPL/ASU/MSSSThe Perseverance rover snapped this view of its surroundings on Mars on April 29, its 68th day on the Red Planet. NASA/JPL/ASU/MSSS Looking for dark matter in odd lightning bolts; the wobbly planet Venus; recent volcanic activity on Mars; remaking the Amazon; the right places for Tatooine-like planets; settling in on Mars.


There’s a link between the recent winter storms in Texas and storms on the Sun a century ago: electricity.

Embrace the DarknessEmbrace the Darkness

McDonald Observatory is helping fight a scourge of the night sky: light pollution. Watch videos and learn more.

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In the Next Issue

James Webb Space Telescope, the most highly anticipated space science mission in decades, is just about ready for launch, and we’ll profile the telescope, discuss some of its science priorities, and tell you how much astronomers are counting on it. We also will tell you how our changing climate is affecting astronomical observations.

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cover of July-August 2021 issue