Nice article in the Washington Post on space telescopes, etc

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mithridates

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This was a nice long article on what I (and many others of course) consider to be the most exciting part of space development at the moment:<br /><br />Link<br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />Here's Looking at You, Universe<br /><br />By Joel Achenbach<br />Sunday, May 13, 2007; Page B01<br /><br />I dropped by NASA headquarters last Monday to hear about the relatively nearby and extremely massive star that might explode at any moment. Remember the name: Eta Carinae. Sounds like an Italian opera singer, or maybe a snazzy little sports car. It's a monster of a star -- something like 120 times the mass of the sun, and roiling, heaving, spewing out gobs of star stuff in what may be the prelude to a cataclysmic bang, a supernova unlike any seen before.<br /><br />If it blows, you might be able to read a book by its radiance at night -- unless it fires a narrow beam of gamma rays right at us, in which case all bets are off. One astrophysicist on hand said, "It would probably destroy all the ozone in the atmosphere." Similar to what we tried to do ourselves, before we banned those nasty chlorofluorocarbons. Eta Carinae would be like a giant can of 1950s hairspray. Not a pleasant picture.<br /><br />This new look at our friendly neighborhood Death Star follows the observation, last September, of a much more distant supernova, which scientists have given the lovely name of SN 2006gy. This was a gargantuan star much like Eta Carinae. The orthodoxy had been that "Eta Car" would have to go through a gradual process of shedding its "hydrogen envelope" before it would explode. But SN 2006gy didn't bother with that. And while most stars that explode leave behind a solid core of material, this star annihilated itself. Nothing left but fireworks.<br /><br />The bulletins from space arrive almost daily. More than 200 "extrasolar"</p></blockquote> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>----- </p><p>http://mithridates.blogspot.com</p> </div>
 
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spacester

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*bump*<br /><br />The things that get ignored here . . . it never ceases to amaze me. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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robnissen

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Actually, it wasn't ignored, I had previously opened a thread on this topic entitled "Why We Should Find Space Research."
 
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spacester

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Oh. I didn't realize they were the same subject.<br /><br />At least you're not biased in favor of Space Telescopes. <br /><br />LOL<br /><br />At any rate, I was referring to the video. I don't see it posted anywhere else. I'm the only one who thought it was cool? <br /><br />Are there previous descriptions of how JWST unfolds that I missed? I was under the impression that this was information previously unseen by us lowly outsiders?<br /><br />Is the engineering aspect of JWST so uninteresting?<br /><br />Truly, I'm just trying to understand why some stuff seems to be ignored. Are we all too cool to post something like "Cool!" just because it's, you know, cool? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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mithridates

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Well, the posts use the same article but they're not the same topic. This one's about space telescopes, that one's about funding (the word telescope appears only twice in the entire thread).<br /><br />I've been thinking about what exactly would be the holy grail of space observation - Gliese 581 c was in the media for almost a week but seems to have died down, and maybe the larger mass made it seem a bit too dissimilar to Earth. And if we find a planet exactly the size of Earth, will it be forgotten if the system is too far away? The best would probably be an ideal planet discovered around Alpha Centauri or that system where Romulus is supposed to come from. Something like that might stay in the common (common here meaning 'not really interested in space') imagination. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>----- </p><p>http://mithridates.blogspot.com</p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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mithridates:<br />"Gliese 581 c was in the media for almost a week but seems to have died down, and maybe the larger mass made it seem a bit too dissimilar to Earth."<br />It's not just that. The fact is it will be a very long time (if ever) before we find out how much like earth it really is. I haven't heard that a transit was observed (supposed to be best chance on May 7th) so for now we know as much about Gliese 581c as we will for decades. No news is, well, no news <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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