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I am now in the final week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you all, from the people who have donated small amounts to those who have given large sums. I cannot truly express how much your support means to me.


The support of my readers through the years has given 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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Extremely Large Telescope in Chile marks halfway point in construction

The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has now celebrated the halfway point in its construction, with completion targeting 2028 when its 39-meter mirror will make it by far the largest telescope in the world.

The 39-meter diameter, or 127 feet or 1,535 inches, is about four times larger than the largest telescope that presently exists, the 10-meter telescope in the Canary Islands. By the time ELT begins operations however the 21-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in Chile should also be in operation.

Sadly, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii will likely not exist, even though it had intended to begin construction before ELT and GMT and be operational now. Leftist opponents in Hawaii have shut construction down now for almost eight years, with little signs of it ever proceeding.

Not that any of this really matters. In the near term, ground-based astronomy on Earth is going to become increasingly impractical and insufficient, first because of the difficulties of making good observations though the atmosphere and the tens of thousands of satellites expected in the coming decades, and second because new space-based astronomy is going to make it all obsolete. All it will take will be to launch one 8-meter telescope on Starship and ELT will become the equivalent of a buggy whip.

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


  • John Fisher

    Speaking of space telescopes, do you have any thoughts on this. It looks interesting to me but is far enough away from my knowledge base for me to determine if it is vaporware.

  • TallDave

    yep appears refraction scopes are going to improve the mass/diameter ratio by an order of magnitude even as Starship (hopefully) improves the mass-to-orbit by another

    pretty soon we’ll be able to spot the aliens waving at us

    but suspect we’re going to be sorely disappointed at the lack of any worlds enough like ours within 1000LY to be plausible starseed destinations for unmodified humans

    starting to think most of us will be vacuum-adapted Dyson-dwellers before we ever settle an exoplanet

  • Max

    I always wondered why light houses had the funny shaped lenses. The whole set up reminds me of an ancient technology that went out of fashion with the invention of the flat screen TV… Rear projection TV had similar diffractive lens. (although it was made from plastic, with a polarized plastic cover to prevent it from focusing sunlight into the projection bulbs, In essence a giant flat magnifying lens)

    I wonder how it compares to a flat surface covered in millions of fisheye lenses like in cell phones. It’s about the same weight and dimensions of a solar panel.

  • I think folks are thinking on completely the wrong scale with regard to space telescopes. I recall the miles-wide ‘scopes constructed in space by the alien Fenachrone in E.E. Smith’s fictional Skylark series (now written over a century ago). Telescopes wielding extreme light-gathering power by fielding apertures approaching sizes such as these – whether designated for radio, infrared, visible, or ultraviolet and beyond (no closed windows to particular wavelengths out there!) – ought to be quite possible to build in the weightlessness of space.

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