Space

This is an article by the space engineer and Mars colonization enthusiast Robert Zubrin, The Planetary Protection Racket claiming that we don’t need to protect Earth from Mars microbes or Mars from Earth microbes. This is not the first time he has said controversial things like this, and they are not taken seriously by the planetary protection experts. Let’s go back to summer 2000, when he put forward similarly forceful arguments in print that there is no need to protect Earth from Mars microbes

This is what he wrote back then:

I’m getting messages from scared people today. The fearmongers and charlatans are saying that a giant planet Nibiru is going to appear during this solar eclipse and is due to hit Earth or do a devastating very close flyby 33 days later on September 23. No! This is total BS and nonsense promulgated by people who couldn’t predict the date of a solar eclipse or where to watch it if their life depended on it.

To everyone who is still scared today - nothing is going to happen I assure you. It's just a shadow. You are getting scared of a small shadow 70 miles wide passing briefly over the surface of Earth. Meanwhile you experience an average of twelve hours of darkness every single night.

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 as seen from around Makanda IL, very close to the center-line of the eclipse,  and in the region of maximum duration of totality.  From here I will live tweet out and attempt to stream images.    

On August 21st, from west coast to east the United States will be treated to a rare event; an eclipse of the sun. Not just a partial eclipse either. Through the entire arc, a swath of land about 70 miles wide will have a total eclipse. There's been so much excitement that social media has made "path of totality" part of the lexicon. 
This will be my informal introduction to sim-transit-lc, an open source toolset I've been working on. The toolset is meant to be a general purpose light curve analysis and optimization system, but today we'll only be looking at one built-in transit type: ringed planets.

The D792 dip of Boyajian's star (or KIC 8462852) is one of the most peculiar ever recorded. It's not only considerably deeper than most exoplanetary dips, but it also doesn't have the usual V or U shape; plus it's asymmetric.

Have you wondered why we can't see the Apollo landing sites from Earth? Moon is so far away that even the ISS at around 108 meters in length would span just over one pixel if Hubble were to photograph it on the Moon at its highest resolution. From NASA:

Can Hubble see the Apollo landing sites on the Moon?

No, Hubble cannot take photos of the Apollo landing sites.

“An object on the Moon 4 meters (4.37 yards) across, viewed from HST, would be about 0.002 arcsec in size. The highest resolution instrument currently on HST is the Advanced Camera for Surveys at 0.03 arcsec. So anything we left on the Moon cannot be resolved in any HST image. It would just appear as a dot.”

A cold beer on a hot day or a whisky nightcap beside a coal fire. A well earned glass can loosen your thinking until you feel able to pierce the mysteries of life, death, love and identity. In moments like these, alcohol and the cosmic can seem intimately entwined.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the universe is awash with alcohol. In the gas that occupies the space between the stars, the hard stuff is almost all-pervasive. What is it doing there? Is it time to send out some big rockets to start collecting it?

At a distance of a mind-blowing 750 million light years from Earth, astronomers using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a system made up of 10 radio telescopes across the U.S., say they've been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes.

They did it by observing several frequencies of radio signals emitted by these supermassive black holes. Over time, they have essentially been able to plot their trajectory and confirm them as a visual binary system. In other words, they claim they've observed these black holes in orbit with one another, though it's really inference.
Rather than providing another functional construct to fit observational cosmology, a mechanistic standard model approach seems to predict the same regarding both dark energy and inflation. The open access Journal of Cosmology recently published this theory and so a very brief attempt to review the physics is presented here for your intellectual enjoyment (see http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC26/Hayes.pdf).

Dark Energy

A day or two ago I came across this article