Not the biggest for long
You have to do your willy-waving while you can in this game - the ELT is already under construction and will be a 39.3m monster when it achieves first light in 2024.
The planned largest optical telescope in the world, the Giant Magellan Telescope looks to go ahead, with its consortium signing off on the US$500 million build cost. The telescope is ambitious engineering: seven mirrors spanning a total of 25 metres, which the project says will focus “six times” the amount of light collected …
Nowadays its more of a get as high as possible so there ain't so much air to get through! Its nice and high up where they're building these monsters so you get less weather, less air to reflect back any street lights, less wobbly air to correct for. There are places in europe that high (2500m+) but the vibration from snowboarders hitting the doors would make it impractical.
I'd be interested to see if their are any figures for less brain power in the scientists who work at this height - I notice problems standing up these days.
It's not just the altitude - locating the devices in Chile is to benefit from the extraordinarily dry Atacama climate. Not only are there few clouds to interrupt viewing, but the absence of water molecules in what little atmosphere is above them allows better performance especially in the infra-red.
PS: There ain't no scientists out there - they're all crouched over their internet-connected terminals back here in Europe when they're not arguing their latest theory at some fancy conference. It's only the poor bloody engineers assembling them and positioning them out there (and, yes, they do need supplementary oxygen).
PPS: These monsters may seem somewhat poor-value-for-money when we have so many homeless, but in comparison with what governments like to spend on things that go bang.........
Apart from the altitude, dry air, and low light pollution, Chile has two big advantages for astronomy - it's politically stable, and even more importantly it's in the southern hemisphere, unlike all those North American and European observatories, so sees a different region of the sky.
The SOFIA aircraft has returned to New Zealand for a final time ahead of the mission's conclusion later this year.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft, designed to carry a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope into the stratosphere, above much of Earth's infrared-blocking atmosphere.
A collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), development began on the project in 1996. SOFIA saw first light in 2010 and achieved full operational capability in 2014. Its prime mission was completed in 2019 and earlier this year, it was decided that SOFIA would be grounded for budgetary reasons. Operations end "no later than" September 30, 2022, followed by an "orderly shutdown."
South Korea's Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) yesterday succeeded in its endeavor to send the home-grown Nuri launcher into space, then place a working satellite in orbit.
The launch was scheduled for earlier in June but was delayed by weather and then again by an anomaly in a first-stage oxidizer tank. Its October 2021 launch failed to deploy a dummy satellite, thanks to similar oxidizer tank problems that caused internal damage.
South Korea was late to enter the space race due to a Cold War-era agreement with the US, which prohibited it developing a space program. That agreement was set aside and yesterday's launch is the culmination of more than a decade of development. The flight puts South Korea in a select group of nations that have demonstrated the capability to build and launch domestically designed and built orbital-class rockets.
Scientists around the world are gearing up to study the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which are to be released on July 12.
Some astronomers will be running machine-learning algorithms on the data to detect and classify galaxies in deep space at a level of detail never seen before. Brant Robertson, an astrophysics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the US believes the telescope's snaps will lead to breakthroughs that will help us better understand how the universe formed some 13.7 billion years ago.
"The JWST data is exciting because it gives us an unprecedented window on the infrared universe, with a resolution that we've only dreamed about until now," he told The Register. Robertson helped develop Morpheus, a machine-learning model trained to pore over pixels and pick out blurry blob-shaped objects from the deep abyss of space and determine whether these structures are galaxies or not, and if so, of what type.
NASA engineers had to work fast to avoid another leak affecting the latest Artemis dry run, just hours after an attempt to reboost the International Space Station (ISS) via the Cygnus freighter was aborted following a few short seconds.
The US space agency on Monday rolled the huge Artemis I stack back to its Florida launchpad having worked through the leaks and problems that had beset its previous attempt at fueling the beast in April for an earlier dress rehearsal of the final countdown.
As propellant was loaded into the rocket, controllers noted a hydrogen leak in the quick-disconnect that attaches an umbilical from the tail service mast on the mobile launcher to the core stage of the rocket.
The James Webb Space Telescope has barely had a chance to get to work, and it's already taken a micrometeoroid to its sensitive primary mirror.
The NASA-built space observatory reached its final destination, the L2 orbit, a million miles away from Earth, at the end of January.
In a statement, NASA said the impact happened some time at the end of May. Despite the impact being larger than any that NASA modeled and "beyond what the team could have tested on the ground," the space agency said the telescope continues to perform at higher-than-expected levels. The telescope has been hit on four previous occasions since launch.
South Korea's ambition to launch a space industry on the back of a locally developed rocket have stalled, after a glitch saw the countdown halted for its latest attempt to place its Nuri vehicle into orbit.
The launch was planned for Wednesday, but postponed by a day due to unfavourable weather.
The Korea Aerospace and Research Institute tried again but, as the countdown progressed, an anomaly appeared in a first stage oxidizer tank. That issue was considered so serious that Nuri was returned to its assembly facility.
In a report published earlier this week, the Secure World Foundation, a space-oriented NGO, warned that in the past few years there's been a surge of interest in offensive counterspace weapons that can disrupt space-based services.
"The existence of counterspace capabilities is not new, but the circumstances surrounding them are," the report [PDF] says. "Today there are increased incentives for development, and potential use, of offensive counterspace capabilities."
"There are also greater potential consequences from their widespread use that could have global repercussions well beyond the military, as huge parts of the global economy and society are increasingly reliant on space applications."
Sony on Friday launched a subsidiary dedicated to optical communications – in space.
The new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSCC) plans to develop small optical communication devices that connect satellites in low Earth orbit using a laser beam, and provide the resulting connection as a service.
These small devices can provide high speed communication more effectively than radio, because they do not need a large antenna, high power output or complicated licenses, said Sony in a canned statement.
Dust that Japan's Hayabusa2 probe returned to Earth from asteroid Ryugu reportedly contain 20 amino acids, according to Japanese media.
Which is very exciting indeed, because amino acids are the stuff of life. They help to build proteins, act as neurotransmitters in the brain, and are utterly ubiquitous and essential in terrestrial life. Just last month, esteemed journal Nature published research suggesting that amino acids had a crucial role in the evolution of the first self-replicating molecules.
Outlets such as Nikkei report that a Science ministry spokesperson mentioned the presence of amino acids yesterday, with a hint of peer-reviewed work to come but no other detail.
The Mars Ingenuity helicopter is in need of a patch to work around a failed sensor before another flight can be attempted.
The helicopter's inclinometer failed during a recommissioning effort ahead of the 29th flight. The sensor is critical as it will reposition the craft nearer to the Perseverance rover for communication purposes.
Although not required during flight, the inclinometer (which consists of two accelerometers) is used to measure gravity prior to spin-up and takeoff. "The direction of the sensed gravity is used to determine how Ingenuity is oriented relative to the downward direction," said Håvard Grip, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter chief pilot.
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