"Astronomers are elated with the first X-ray images from a German telescope on Russia's Spektr-RG astronomy mission, demonstrating the instrument's ability to observe galaxies near and far as scientists seek answers to questions about dark energy. German officials released the 'first light' images from the eROSITA instrument Tuesday. The German-built instrument is the primary payload on the Russian Spektr-RG X-ray astronomy observatory, which launched in July on a Proton rocket and headed for an observing post nearly a million miles from Earth. 'These first images from our telescope show the true beauty of the hidden universe ..."
"New measurements [of the Hubble Constant] of the rate of expansion of the universe add to a growing mystery: Estimates of a fundamental constant made with different methods keep giving different results. New measurements of the rate of expansion of the universe, led by astronomers at the University of California, Davis, add to a growing mystery: Estimates of a fundamental constant made with different methods keep giving different results. 'There's a lot of excitement, a lot of mystification and from my point of view it's a lot of fun,' said Chris Fassnacht, professor of physics at UC Davis and a member of the international SHARP/H0LICOW collaboration ..."
Here is Melanie with my vintage, circa 1967 Sears "Discoverer" Model 4 6305A 60 mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope (focal length 900 mm, f15 optics). Purchased on eBay for a very reasonable price, it was in excellent condition optically and physically. There are a few minor paint scratches that I plan to repair. After disassembling all the mechanical parts, cleaning, greasing, and reassembling them, operation is very smooth. The sun projection screen will come in handy for the April 2024 total solar eclipse, and incredibly enough my house in Erie, Pennsylvania sits almost dead center in the path of totality. The shipping / carrying case came with the telescope. It is constructed with a mahogany plywood top and bottom surface and with solid mahogany frame pieces. All the hardware was removed and either polished or painted. The wood was sanded just enough to get it smooth and remove a couple very minor scratches. I was careful to not erase any of the original already faded ink stamping on the inside bottom; it has "JAS," with the rest being Japanese. Then, three coats of semigloss polyurethane ...
"The composite structure of Sierra Nevada Corp.'s first space-rated Dream Chaser space plane has arrived at the company's Colorado factory for integration with computers, a heat shield and mechanical systems before launch to the International Space Station in late 2021. The spaceship has been more than 15 years in the making for Sierra Nevada - also known as SNC - a family-owned, privately-held company based in Nevada with a space unit headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, near Denver. Originally conceived as a human-rated vehicle to ferry astronauts to and from low Earth orbit, the Dream Chaser is now under development under contract to NASA as a cargo freighter for the space station. Sierra Nevada is contracted to fly ..."
"As the Collings Foundation's crippled B−17, N93012, was approaching Runway 6 at Bradley Windsor Locks, Connecticut, a few weeks ago, the crew was already desperately pressed for altitude to try and align the World War II bomber with the runway for landing. Shortly after takeoff from Runway 6 just minutes before, the airplane never climbed above 500 feet AGL before it began a return to the field with a mechanical problem reported in the number four engine. By the time the airplane was on downwind, its altitude had dropped to 300 feet. During the turn from base to final, the Boeing continued losing altitude, eventually striking the airport approach lights 1,000 feet short of the hard surface ..."
This is my annual Veterans Day tribute. On November 11 (the 11th day of the 11th month), at 11:00 am (the 11th hour), we observe 2 minutes of silence in honor of countrymen who "gave the last full measure of devotion." A Pittance of Time is performed by Canadian citizen Terry Kelly (he went blind at an early age). It was written after an experience he had on Veterans Day in 1999. It is done in the finest Celtic tradition.
Mercury will pass across the face of the sun. The astronomical term is "transit." What makes this transit of Mercury so spectacular is that it passes nearly in the center of the sun. It will take Mercury approximately 5-1/2 hours to move from the eastern edge to the western edge, from 7:35 am to 1:04 pm EST. Both the sun and the moon subtend an angular width of about half a degree. Of course will should never look directly at the sun with your naked eyes, and particularly not with any sort of magnification, be it binoculars or a telescope. The safest way to observe this Mercury transit it by using a white projection screen with any telescope generate an image large enough to make the black dot of Mercury stand out relative to the sun. Weather permitting, I'll have my 1969 era 60 mm Sears Model 6305A refractor set up. The next transit of Mercury will be in 2032!
An ability to trim a model aircraft for proper flight with no supplementary control surface input has, since the advent of precise, reliable radio control (R/C), been the domain mostly of the relatively small number of free flight (F/F) and competition fliers of control line (C/L) and R/C. Most models can be made to fly very well when a human or electronic pilot is able to make corrective deflections of control surfaces. Warped and twisted wings, misaligned tail surfaces, and even a dangerously mislocated center of gravity can have their otherwise detrimental - even dangerous - effects mitigated by a skillful flyer. Authors have written that a properly trimmed model of any sort will fly more precisely and successfully ...
"The UK government is requiring drone operators to register their aerial vehicles. In a press release, the UK Civil Aviation Authority announced that in conjunction with the mandatory registration it is launching a new service to help drone owners find their lost drones. Under the scheme, all drone owners and operators in the UK that have droves that weigh more than 250g have to register them. Registration costs £9 which the UK government argues is a lot cheaper than replacing a lost drone. UK drone owners have until 30 November to register or they can face a fine of as much as $1290, according to one report ..."
The February 1942 issue of Flying Aces magazine contained a quadruplet of 3-view scale drawings of early airplanes: The German Fokker D.V Albatros fighter biplane, the American Army Air Force's Douglas O-31A observation monoplane, the Ryan Navy Seaplane, and Russian I-16 Mosca fighter low wing monoplane. Per Wikipedia, "The Douglas O-31 was the Douglas Aircraft Company's first monoplane observation straight-wing aircraft used by the United States Army Air Corps. Anxious to retain its position as chief supplier of observation aircraft to the USAAC, Douglas developed a proposal for a high-wing monoplane successor to the O-2. A contract was signed on January 7, 1930 for two XO-31 prototype aircraft ...
Jet airplanes were still somewhat of a novelty with actual flying models when this article about a free flight North American XB−70 Valkyrie appeared in a 1961 issue of American Modeler magazine. This rather large - 21" wingspan and 45" long at 15 ounces - craft is built of 3/32" and 1/4" balsa sheet and is powered by a Cox .049 engine in a pusher configuration. That's not a lot of power for such a large ship, but it must have been. The plans are easily scaled up or down with pencil and paper thanks to a 1" square grid provided. Today, the B−70 could probably be built lighter and be powered by an electric propulsion setup ...
The February 1942 issue of Flying Aces magazine contained a triplet of 3-view scale drawings of early airplanes: The German Fokker D.V Albatros fighter biplane, the American Army Air Force's Douglas O-31A observation monoplane, and Russian I-16 Mosca fighter low wing monoplane. Per Wikipedia, "The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft built by the Albatros Flugzeugwerke and used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built before production halted in April 1918." Here is an official outline drawing of the Albatros ...
"Nine years after the end of World War II, Keith Brunquist's father, Norm, took him out to an airstrip near their Anchorage, Alaska home and showed Keith, who was nearly three years old, a Boeing YL-15 Scout. Sixty-three years after his first glimpse of the odd little airplane, Keith landed the fully restored Scout at the world's biggest gathering of aircraft: the Experimental Aircraft Association's 2017 AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. By the time the show was over, the YL-15 was recognized as the grand champion for post-World War II warbirds. In addition, Keith's workmanship in restoring the Scout earned him a Gold Wrench award ..."
NASA Opens Competition to Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers
"Companies have until November 1 to submit proposals to NASA for a human-rated lander that could be ready in time to carry astronauts to the moon's surface by the end of 2024, and the agency is leaving open the option for contractors to develop a descent craft that would bypass the planned Gateway mini-space station in lunar orbit, at least for the first landing attempt. The lunar lander, or Human Landing System, is critical to the Trump administration’s goal of returning humans to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024. NASA named effort after Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, after Vice President Mike Pence announced the 2024 goal ..."
The Berliner-Joyce OJ−2 was a multi-purpose biplane built for naval service. Its maiden flight was in 1931. As this American Aircraft Modeler magazine article photos show, it could be configured with wheels or floats. Berliner-Joyce Aircraft Corporation had is main offices in Baltimore, Maryland, which was a popular location for defense contractors then and now. The Glen L. Martin Company, manufacturer of the famous Martin B−10 Bomber, was also in Baltimore. The OJ-2 was in heavy competition with the Vought O2U Corsair, which, unlike its eventual and much more famous successor gull-wing, all-metal F4U Corsair, was a fabric-covered biplane. Someone at Vaught must have really been stuck on using the Corsair name ...
"China's big 70th anniversary parade marking the founding of the PRC has come and gone. There were a number of revelations, some of which we are still analyzing, but the biggest ones were in the unmanned space. In the days leading up to the parade, we had covered both of the most impressive unmanned vehicles that were to be displayed. It's time to follow up with our analysis now that we have seen them in far greater detail. We posted our analysis on the GJ-11 Sharp Sword UCAV earlier today, now here are my takeaways from the official unveiling of the WZ-8 - also referred to as the DR-8 - high-speed reconnaissance drone. Before we get started, it's important to note that the two WZ-8s ..."
"A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency. The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. Instead of requiring separate movable surfaces, such as ailerons, to control the roll and pitch of the plane as conventional wings do, the new assembly system makes it possible to deform the whole wing or parts of it by incorporating a mix of stiff and flexible components in its structure. The tiny subassemblies ..."
"Oxford University and Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology embark on a joint project to develop space telescopes that are more compact for launching. The design of all space hardware tries to minimise two factors: launch weight and launch volume. But for space telescopes, minimising launch volume is particularly tricky, because the physics underlining the operation of telescopes depends on their size - the area of the primary mirror has to be maximised to collect the largest amount of light possible, and the space between primary mirror and secondary mirror is fixed by the size of the primary. With the Earth observation market growing, and already at the multibillion dollar level ..."
"Transportation produces about one-fourth of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Of this, maritime shipping accounts for 3%, and this figure is expected to increase for the next three decades even though the shipping industry is actively seeking greener alternatives, and developing near-zero-emission vessels. Researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria, recently explored another potential solution: the return of airships to the skies. Airships rely on jet stream winds to propel them forward to their destinations. They offer clear advantages over cargo ships in terms of both efficiency and avoided emissions. Returning to airships, says Julian Hunt, a researcher at the IIASA and lead author ..."