2020 – a new year with stars and space
Dear reader, 2020 will bring us a we alth of exciting celestial events. It starts already in January with the meteor swarm of the Quadrantids and their maximum on January 4th (see p. 62), followed by a penumbral eclipse on January 10th (see p. 58) and many planetary encounters with the moon. Venus will offer us a lot in the first few months until it will be in its greatest splendor in April. You can see the highlights of the sky in our Astro Planner 2020, which, as always, we enclose with our January issue. This way you will not miss any important event and can make preparations in good time.
In September 2019, our longest-serving editor, Axel M. Quetz, had the unique opportunity to travel with the SOFIA aircraft observatory, which completed a multi-hour flight over Europe. His report from p. 24 gives insights into the course of astronomical observations that are reserved for only a few. The SuW editorial team would like to thank the German SOFIA Institute in Stuttgart for the invitation.
Who discovered helium? The Munich Fraunhofer, right? The situation is not that clear, as we learn from Dietrich Lemke's cover story from page 36 onwards. It's extremely interesting that scientists from all walks of life got involved and I hope the final answer to the opening question will astound you as it did me.
The "standard folklore" in astrophysics says that a White Twig will explode in a Type Ia supernova if it exceeds its maximum possible mass of around 1.4 solar masses and that nothing will survive this explosion. So I was all the more astonished to read that there could be a relic that survived the inferno – you can read about it in the short report by Götz Gräfener from p. 20. Astronomy is always good for a surprise.
Hush into the magazine! Yours