What's happening in space (that's interesting)


Every time I hear of the Angara booster I keep thinking of this:

an Angoran cat. They go to light the booster and it sizzles for a second then goes to sleep.


I’d forgotten about that. That’s priceless. I mean you’re Buzz Aldrin, you can totally get away with making faces at the crazy clueless president making word salad about space.


So, others still working to confirm it, but looks promising. Should help to advance our understanding of star system formation.


Too on the nose?


No, that would have been Brahe.


Scientist detect a neutrino fired off from 4.5 billion light years away.


(xkcd, of course)


How long will it take to get into its proper orbital alignment and finish testing to start bringing in images you think?


Six months.

In the third month: From 60 to 90 days after launch we will align the primary mirror segments so that they can work together as a single optical surface. We will also turn on and operate the MIRI. By the end of the third month we will be able to take the first science-quality images. Also by this time, Webb will complete its initial orbit around L2.

In the fourth through the sixth month: At about 85 days after launch we will have completed the optimization of the telescope image in the NIRCam. Over the next month and a half we will optimize the image for the other instruments. We will test and calibrate all of the instrument capabilities by observing representative science targets.

After six months: Webb will begin its science mission and start to conduct routine science operations.


Another looming issue. It’s launch rocket, the Ariane 5 is scheduled to be retired in 2022.


In space related news, a piece of history demolished.



Not so much interesting, but sad for the U.S. space program

“…NASA is embarrassed and dismayed by the human errors that have snarled its biggest robotic science project…”

“…Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, the Webb cannot be repaired in space. It will be placed more than four times farther from Earth than the moon…”

“…The U.S. aerospace industry, which is dealing with a wave of retirements, needs to prove to national leaders that it remains as competent as when it put people on the moon…”

Not only are we unable / unwilling to put humans beyond low earth orbit any more [edit- WE don’t put humans in LEO anymore, we hitch rides with the Russians], but we can’t seem to do it with complicated machines anymore. Will the Mars rovers (which are great) be it for the next several generations?

I see this being cancelled soon, and a huge anchor on anything else meaningful being funded.


Any of you guys getting good looks of the Mars opposition? Closest point to Earth since 2003, and won’t happen again until 2035 or some date like that.

Here in Sydney we can see it with the naked eye very easily at night as a bright red ball. I booked tickets for the Sydney Observatory Monday night, really excited to get a look at it with a real telescope. Fingers crossed it isn’t cloudy!


Aye, same over in WA, it has looked amazing for a few weeks when we have clear nights. Took the 5yo out the other night to spot all five of the ‘visible with the naked eye’ planets!

If you have been paying attention, you may have realised that all five planets that you can see with the unaided eye will be visible in the evening sky in the second half of July (Sorry morning people! You’ll have to wait until August for Mercury to return.) Starting in the west-northwest there is Mercury, then Venus, Jupiter overhead, Saturn high in the east then Mars rising low in the east. It’s not often the planets are bunched together on one half of the sky. Part of the reason is that Jupiter and Saturn are creeping towards their once-in-20-years conjunction in 2020, and Mars just happens to be hanging around nearby!


Yeah last night I had great views of the moon and Mars. And it was cool to clearly see the color of Mars in the way you could.


It’s about time somebody explored Argentina. Maybe there’s water there!



As we all know, James Webb telescope now delayed until 2021. Here’s a write-up about its on-going problems.


So I went and was really lucky that it was completely clear that night. I was astonished when the guide pointed out venus, jupiter, saturn, and Mars all in the same sky. I had no idea the others were easily viewable.

Ironically, Mars (which is the reason I went) did not look great through the telescope. Because of a global dust storm you can’t make out any details on it. Saturn and jupiter, however, looked incredible. Seeing the rings of saturn and the lines on jupiter (along with 4 of its moons) was a very memorable experience. This is all probably old hat to you guys, but I haven’t looked through a good telescope since I was a young teen and had never had a good view of these two planets.


With many thanks to @Rod_Humble for tweeting this or I would have missed it.


Welcome! yeah It is truly amazing. I suspect this will become as an iconic an image (movie) as the earth from the moon became.