Sunday, May 13, 2007

Astronomy In The News

The has a nice little article about the state of astronomy at the moment. Its fairly timely to me as I have just kicked off a few posts about the history and future of astronomy. Its well written and also happily pretty accurate, you can find it here (free registration may be required).

It briefly covers some of the larger discoveries of the last month or so, new exo-planets, the largest supernovae ever seen and the behaviour of Eta Carinae to name but a few. It also gives some interesting insights to the average reader about the replacement for the HST, the James Webb Space Telescope and also happily explains that astronomy is not just about the visible part of the spectrum.

The star Eta Carinae, a large mass star in the Milky Way which could go supernovae at any time.

The author of the piece, Joel Achenbach makes the point that we are in a golden age of astronomy, which it certainly seems to the average non professional astronomer, what with the almost constant announcements of amazing new discoveries. In my series of posts I will argue that we haven't quite reached the golden age, or at least we haven't reached the peak yet, the era of the 30-50m class telescopes and a working JWST would certainly open up whole new areas of research. All of which means that we can look forward to at least as many major discoveries in the next 30 years as we have had in the previous.