I attended a new knitting group last night. Age range was 20--80, projects ranged from first-ever scarf to intricate baby clothes. Discussion topics discussed included: quark-gluon plasmas, whether gauge swatches are necessary, the northern lights, felting techniques, scenic camping sites, pronunciation of Portuguese island names, whether the Azores are too touristy (compared to 1950), the game Oregon Trail, the new Star Trek Movie (the older ladies have seen it, and I haven't!). Oh, and someone asked me whether a galaxy of sufficiently high mass and redshift could ever be discovered that would make theorists cry.
This group's a keeper.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
My wife and I climbed a tallish building before Atlantis landed Sunday. Didn't see it, but we clearly heard the double sonic booms (a few seconds after NASA TV reported them heard at Edwards.) Exactly what it's supposed to sound like. So, in a small way, we welcomed the Hubble repair astronauts home. As, apparently, did pickuptrucks.com (stumbled across the link from Cars.com.) Everyone does love Hubble.
Also in the news, Prop 8 decision was announced Tuesday. Exactly what we all guessed based on the oral argument: Prop 8 stands, but my wife and I stay married, and laws that discriminate on sexual orientation are still subject to "heightened judicial scrutiny".
Afterward, as always, there was a rally. Small group (where the hell are you, pissed-off straight and gay people?), including many parents with kids (I was given a lovely kid-made sign, which made up for in sincerity what it lacked in legibility). Not sure how much the rally accomplished, but the wife said it was cathartic. We wrote letters to the editor this morning, too, not that people read newspapers anymore.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
A snapshot of Drew Feustel (on the robotic arm) and John Grunsfeld (deep inside Hubble's guts). Thank you, Atlantis astronauts, for splendid work refurbishing Hubble, and for risking your lives to advance science.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Lots of space telescope news this week:
The Shuttle launched safely on Monday, captured the Hubble Space Telescope on Tuesday, and now astronauts are repairing Hubble. John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel have already removed WFPC2 and installed WFC3 - YAY! They are currently removing the faulty Data Handling Unit.
You can watch the repairs on NASA TV.
Also, Herschel and Planck launched successfully on Thurdsay morning. Herschel is an infrared/submillimeter space telescope, and Planck is a cosmic microwave background experiment.
No word yet on whether the Spitzer Space Telescope has run out of cryogenic coolant yet -- an event predicted for this week.. Thank, you Spitzer, for 5 years of wonderful science.