Category Archives: Science

SpaceX/NASA launch, Take Two

Update: The Demo-2 had a successful launch.

The first launch of a crewed spaceship from North America since 2011 was cancelled earlier this week, and hopefully, will happen today at 3:22 EDT / 1922 GMT. If successful, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley’s journey to the International Space Station will be the first time a privately-owned company has made the trip.

Some additional information and coverage:
Continue reading →

Bureau’s Breakroom’s Television Table – Week beginning 2020 March 8

Coming in like a lion, the Deserted Crowd of Disguise and Costume roar back onto the breakroom boobtube, and Batwoman realizes she should smile a bit more, Supergirl will always love you, Black Lightning finishes his season, The Flash finishes off the Speed Force, and The Legends meet up with a non-spider-powered Mr. Parker.  Saul takes up Yoga and finds inner peace.  Things are looking up for Neil deGrasse Tyson, as his second season of Cosmos returns with two episodes.  The other type of Good Doctor takes two recently broken up doctors and makes them work together on a small problem.  Someone does their best to keep the Riverdale “teens” from getting back to the screen.  To round out the week, we also get Picard learning what really caused the demise of the red planet.

[All synopses (and titles) from below the cut, except when there really aren’t any.  (If a show’s synopsis is a spoiler to you, do not click More…)]

Continue reading →

So, What Does A Black Hole Look Like?

From Scientific American:

At six simultaneous press conferences around the globe, astronomers on Wednesday announced they had accomplished the seemingly impossible: taking a picture of a black hole, a cosmic monster so voracious that light itself cannot escape its clutches.

This historic feat, performed by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)—a planet-spanning network of radio observatories—required more than a decade of effort. The project’s name refers to a black hole’s most defining characteristic, an “event horizon” set by the object’s mass and spin beyond which no infalling material, including light, can ever return.

‘Oumuamua back in the news: do aliens approach? And what will NASA be announcing today?

Astronomers identified Oumuamua, the cigar-shaped extrasolar object passing through our solar system, back in October. More recently, it has made the news because its unusual qualities make for cool sensationalist headlines. Stephen Hawking, et al have not actually said the thing is an alien craft, and probably aren’t betting it is, but its unusual shape and nature mean that scientists have to check all possibilities.

It’s more likely just an unusually-shaped asteroid from another system.

Or a space whale. It could totally be a space whale, right?

In an unrelated development, NASA will make an announcement later today regarding the Kepler Space Telescope and its ongoing scanning of the galaxy for signs of inhabited planets.

UPDATE: With Google-based “machine intelligence” helping to analyse the Kepler data, NASA confirms an eighth planet in the Kepler-90 system, making it the first to tie our system in the number of known planets.
Continue reading →