BAN #25: Video answers to your questions!, When will we see pix from JWST?, Stargate 'scope

July 9, 2018 Issue #25

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Q & BA

You asked. I answered.

I’m pretty excited to introduce a new feature on the newsletter: video answers to questions! The folks at Substack have implemented comments for paying subscribers (which, hopefully, will prevent randos and Russian bots and Nazis from leaving horrific trolling nonsense). Those folks can ask questions on the newsletters, and then I’ll pick one and answer it in a video which will go up (hopefully) each Monday. I’ll try to keep the videos short (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA^∞) and bells and whistles to a minimum. Just your questions, and me waving my hands around and making dumb jokes along with some science.

In the BA Newsletter #22, I wrote about the most recent delay of the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (now scheduled for March 2021 at the earliest). That prompted Allan M. Jensen to ask: 

“Thank you for another well-written newsletter! Optimistically when do you expect actual science comming [sic] from JWST (how long from launch to actual telescope time/publishing of findings).” 

Good question! Here’s my answer:

If it helps (and it will, you can see the JSWT timeline depicted in this NASA graphic:

[Credit: NASA]

So, hopefully we’ll get data pretty quickly once JWST is deployed in its correct orbit. I cannot wait to see what it has for us… but of course, we’ll all have to wait and see. Grrrrr.


Astro Tidbit

A brief synopsis of some interesting astronomy/science news that may be too short for the blog, too long for Twitter, but just right (and cool enough to talk about) for here.

If you’ve been following me for very long you may know that I like Celestron telescopes and their other observing gear. Some years ago when I was still with Discover Magazine I did a panel put together by the mag and sponsored by Celestron, and I met some of the company folks there. One thing led to another, and I asked Celestron to sponsor my Science Getaways vacation company. They agreed, and have supplied me with some of their equipment. I occasionally promote their stuff, but I do so because I do in fact like it, which is why I asked them in the first place.

So? Well, I was watching an episode of “Stargate SG-1” a while back, and I laughed when I saw it featured a Celestron ‘scope!

[Credit: MGM and possibly SGC]

Specifically, that’s an 8” (20 cm) and it’s very similar to my own ‘scope.

I got the screen shot, but like a dummy didn’t write down the episode. A bit of sleuthing though revealed it’s the opening scene of the episode “Forsaken” (season 6 episode 18). Major Carter teases Colonel O’Neill about looking through the telescope during the day, but in fact the very first time we see Jack in the TV series he’s on his roof using a similar telescope. But note that in this scene, she never says he doesn’t know how to use a telescope (and in an earlier episode praises him for having one), just that he won’t see the target during the day. She’s right, but in his defense he didn’t know what she was looking for.

I love “Stargate”. I miss it. The show was amazing about continuity! And two major characters, Carter and Rodney MacKay, were astrophysicists. Oh, and P.S. If you’re a “Stargate” fan too, then you might like “Travelers”, which is on Netflix. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces from “Stargate Universe” in it. Bonus: It’s actually really good.


Blog Jam

What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI 

Monday, June 25, 2018: Astronomical birth announcement: It's a bouncing baby planet!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018: Dawn is now barnstorming Ceres and seeing wonders

Wednesday, June 27, 2018: Mars weather update: Dusty with 100% chance of engulfment

Thursday, June 28, 2018: Abell 370 and the vermin of the sky

Friday, June 29, 2018: Incredible image of the protoplanet Vesta taken from Earth


Et alia

You can email me at thebadastronomer@gmail.com (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at about.me. Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!