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).
Forbes articles by Brian Koberlein 22 Jan 2020, 18:10 UTC With over 4,000 confirmed exoplanets, we're starting to get an idea of which types are common and which are rare. We've learned that our solar system is rather unusual in ways you wouldn't expect. Take, for example, the presence of large planets orbiting small stars.
NASA Space Station Blog 21 Jan 2020, 19:29 UTC The Expedition 61 astronauts have one more spacewalk planned this weekend and they will finish the repair of a cosmic ray detector. This will be the ninth spacewalk for the crew, more than in any other increment in the history of the International Space Station.
Astrobiology Magazine 21 Jan 2020, 16:21 UTC New study finds surface waters on early Mars may have been habitable for microbial life
Bad Astronomy 21 Jan 2020, 14:00 UTC We're still not really sure what killed the dinosaurs. I mean that both in general and specifically. Yes, there was an asteroid impact. We know that 66 million years ago, an object roughly 10 kilometers across, either an asteroid or a comet, slammed into what is now the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Yucatan. The crater is something like 150 kilometers across and 20 deep, and the impact was so catastrophic that 75% of all species died out, including the non-avian dinosaurs. This is called the Cretaceous-Paleogenic, or K-Pg, extinction.
NASA Space Station Blog 20 Jan 2020, 19:05 UTC At 1:33 p.m. EST, Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA concluded their third spacewalk together. During the six hour and 58-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully completed the battery upgrade for one channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.