Scientific American 29 Jan 2020, 16:15 UTC Thankfully, the probability of a collision is just 0.1 percent
Universe Today 27 Jan 2020, 19:01 UTC Before the first crewed Apollo launch could take place, a few critical tests remained, and on January 27, 1967, the astronauts needed to participate in a checkout called a “plugs out” test, a full simulation of the Apollo launch countdown, overseen from both the launch control center at Kenney Space Center (KSC) and Mission Control in Houston. The crew would be in the Command Module, on top of the rocket, on the launchpad and to confirm the CSM could function properly on its own internal power. No propellants had been loaded and all the pyrotechnics were disabled, so the test was considered non-hazardous.
Bad Astronomy 27 Jan 2020, 14:00 UTC Whenever I write about supermassive black holes, I am always careful to say that we think they are in the centers of every big galaxy. That's because when we survey the centers of galaxies that are big, like our Milky Way, we tend to see evidence of them.
Centauri Dreams 24 Jan 2020, 17:54 UTC Yesterday’s post on the Spitzer Space Telescope leads naturally to the targets it produced for its successor. For when Spitzer’s mission ends on January 30, we have the far more powerful James Webb Space Telescope, also operating at infrared wavelengths, in queue for a 2021 launch. In many ways, Spitzer has been the necessary precursor for JWST, for it was the need to operate a telescope at extremely low temperatures in order to maximize infrared sensitivity that drove Spitzer design. JWST must maintain its gold-coated beryllium mirror at similarly precise temperatures.
Bad Astronomy 24 Jan 2020, 14:00 UTC Every now and again I'll see a nebula I've never seen before, and it's always a bit of a surprise. I've been doing this scicomm thing a long time, and astronomy in general even longer. I've seen a lot of stuff.
Centauri Dreams 23 Jan 2020, 18:04 UTC The Spitzer Space Telescope, which is to end its mission on January 30, has a special place in my memory. I was making a trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the research for my Centauri Dreams book when I noticed on a monitor a countdown — still in days — for the launch of Spitzer, then known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF).