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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: May/June 2020

Lighting up the UniverseLiterary Flights

This is a time when it’s great to settle in with a good book and just read, and we have excerpts from three new books in this issue. One takes you through our galactic neighborhood, known as the Local Group. The second explains the search for mysterious dark matter. And the third takes you back to the early days of the Apollo program, when a lone engineer was lobbying on behalf of a better path to the Moon. We also have short items about a couple of other books, including one that’s filled with amazing illustrations from Soviet magazines about space exploration (including the one featured on our cover).

Sky Highlights

The five easily visible planets show off in May and June. Jupiter and Saturn, the solar system’s giants, begin the period close together in the dawn sky, with orange Mars not far away. Venus ends its reign as the brilliant Evening Star and moves into the morning sky, with Mercury peeking into view as well. Follow their motions across the heavens in the Sky Calendar.


Merlin does the math on Earth’s motion through the universe and provides a recipe for blending up a perfect elliptical galaxy. Pose your own question for future issues.


InSight’s robotic arm tries to mash the heat probe into the Martian dirt. Mars explorers have been busy in recent months, with new findings about the Red Planet, which we outline in our AstroNews pages. We also have news about some threats to dark night skies, a story about a monster galaxy that lived fast and died young, and details on a fossil clam that revealed some ancient history.


We have more suggestions for pleasant ways to spend your time at home, including looking for the International Space Station and helping scientists make real discoveries.

Download a sample issue (PDF)

In the Next Issue

As the next wave of Mars explorers is prepped for the journey, we’ll tell you what they’re designed to look for and why space agencies keep dispatching missions to the Red Planet.

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cover of May-June 2020 issue