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I am now in the second week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you to everyone that donated so generously last week. I hope week two will do as well.


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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Can you spot the supernova?

Supernova 2022zut
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, reduced and sharpened to post here, was taken using the Hubble Space Telescope and was done as part of a larger research project studying what astronomers call Type 1a supernovae.

NGC 3810, the galaxy featured in this image, was the host of a Type Ia supernova in 2022. In early 2023 Hubble focused on this and a number of other galaxies to closely examine recent Type Ia supernovae. This kind of supernova results from a white dwarf exploding, and they all have a very consistent brightness. That allows them to be used to measure distances: we know how bright a Type Ia supernova should be, so we can tell how far away it must be from how dim it appears.

One uncertainty in this method is that intergalactic dust in between Earth and a supernova blocks some of its light. How do you know how much of the reduction in light is caused by distance, and how much by dust? With the help of Hubble, there’s a clever workaround: take images of the same Type Ia supernovae in ultraviolet light, which is almost completely blocked by dust, and in infrared light, which passes through dust almost unaffected. By carefully noting how much light comes through at each wavelength, the relationship between supernova brightness and distance can be calibrated to account for dust. Hubble can observe both these wavelengths of light in great detail with the same instrument. That makes it the perfect tool for this experiment, and indeed, some of the data used to make this beautiful image of NGC 3810 were focused on its 2022 supernova. You can see it as a point of light just below the galactic nucleus, or in the annotated image here.

Can you spot the supernova? If you can’t without checking the annotated or original image, don’t be disappointed. It is there but hard to distinguish unless you know where to look.

This supernova however does illustrate the advances in astronomical observational capabilities in the past two decades, resulting not from the giant big ground-based telescopes that cost a fortune and take decades to build nor from the space telescopes like Hubble and Webb that get all the press. These new capablities come from sophisticated smaller telescopes designed to do daily surveys of the entire sky, combined with software that can quickly compare images each day and identify anything that changed.

For example, this 2022 supernova was the 18,142nd discovered that year. That total exceeds the entire number of supernovae that had been discovered in all history prior to this century.

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


  • And, amateurs with equipment capable of sweeping the sky at regular intervals (thanks to computerized interfaces), and with multiple filters available, have done a significant part of the work.
    Some work on remote telescopes. Some use students (even into the K12 school level). Some are just fortunate enough to live in remote areas.

  • TallDave

    the value of Euclid will be in finding thousands of high-Z (very distant) Type 1As that cannot be imaged through atmosphere

    believe NGR will actually see millions

    Euclid will significantly constrain dark energy models

    NGR will practically spell them out for us

    LCDM is likely to see major revisions

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