Astronews updates

Contributed by
Mar 12, 2008

OK, so I take a day off from blogging and the world, surprisingly, kept spinning. So here's some stuff to keep you busy while I figure out what to write about next:

1) Jules Verne is the name of a very cool and highly sophisticated robotic vehicle built by the European Space Agency to aid astronauts on the space station. There were some initial problems with it, but it's fixed.

2) The Large Binocular Telescope is a massive pair of 8.4 meter mirrors (cripes!) that work together to act as one very impressively ginormous telescope. One of the mirrors has been used for some time, but the second just came online and they have released their "First Light" image. Editorial note: I have no clue why they picked such a boring object for this image. It's winter! They could have done any number of awesome things in Orion, or Gemini, or taken a shot at Saturn. Oh well.

3) A new website called Space Advocates for Obama has been set up. I need to look through it (busy busy) but it looks like a good place to get info on what Obama thinks on this important topic. If anyone knows of similar sites for Clinton and McCain, please post a comment below!

4) Real Climate, a blog written by professional climate scientists, has an interesting post up about the effects of the Sun's motion through the galaxy and galactic cosmic rays on our climate. I researched this quite a bit for my book, and interviewed one of the writers of RC, Caspar Ammann, about it as well. This is an area of active research, and as such it's hard to make firm statements just yet, but it's looking like cosmic rays don't affect the climate at all or at most the effect is very subtle.

5) Good news everyone! I Heart Chaos has an online and nearly complete timeline of Futurama events! It's amazing, and if you're a fan you'll get a kick out of it.

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