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I am now in the third week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you to everyone that donated so generously in the past two weeks. I cannot express how much it means to me, especially since you do not have to donate anything to read my work.

 

Your donations and subscriptions have allowed me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.

 

Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.

 

In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.

 

Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.

 

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A relatively dim star is expected to become one of the brightest in the sky later this year

As it has done twice before at intervals of 80 years, a relatively dim star is expected to go nova later this year, becoming for a short time one of the brightest stars in the sky.

Located in the Northern Crown constellation, T Coronae Borealis (T CrB) is a pretty average looking star, most of the time. With a brightness of about magnitude +10, it’s right on the limits of what you could see with a pair of binoculars, and even if you do go looking there’s not much to see.

At least, that’s the case for about 79 out of 80 years. But on that 80th year, the star suddenly brightens drastically up to around magnitude +2, which puts it on par with the north star Polaris. That makes it one of the brightest stars in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye even when washed out by city lights. This once-in-a-lifetime outburst last occurred in 1946, and before that 1866.

And lucky for stargazers, T CrB seems to be about two years ahead of schedule, with astronomers predicting it will flare up again between March and September 2024. It’ll appear as a bright ‘new’ star for a few days with the naked eye, and a little over a week with binoculars, before it settles down again for another few decades. Astronomers noticed last year that T CrB had started to dim, which data from 1945 showed preceded the last brightening event.

The star is actually a binary, made up of a white dwarf and a red giant. The white dwarf is pulling material from the red giant, and as that new material piles up, it eventually gathers enough mass to go critical and produce a thermonuclear explosion. The result is a nova, a smaller version of a supernova that unlike supernovae occurs repeatedly.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

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