Chris Hannah


First Photos from The James Webb Space Telescope #

The James Webb Space Telescope, lauched December 2021, has now produced it’s first images. And they are incredible.

Perhaps the most impressive image, is the image known as “Webb’s First Deep Field”, which is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the universe. But there’s also images of the Southern Ring Nebula, the group of galaxies known as Stephan’s Quintet, the edge of a star-forming region in the Carina Nebula, and analysis on the atmosphere of a hot gas giant exoplanet.

The images are amazing, and my brain can’t comprehend that thay aren’t just CGI, and are in fact part of our universe.

Here are my two favourite images that have been released:

“Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula | Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

“Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula | Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Southern Ring Nebula | Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Southern Ring Nebula | Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

A Material Way To Make Mars Habitable #

Leah Burrows, writing at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences blog:

People have long dreamed of re-shaping the Martian climate to make it livable for humans. Carl Sagan was the first outside of the realm of science fiction to propose terraforming. In a 1971 paper, Sagan suggested that vaporizing the northern polar ice caps would “yield ~10 s g cm-2 of atmosphere over the planet, higher global temperatures through the greenhouse effect, and a greatly increased likelihood of liquid water.”

Sagan’s work inspired other researchers and futurists to take seriously the idea of terraforming. The key question was: are there enough greenhouse gases and water on Mars to increase its atmospheric pressure to Earth-like levels?

In 2018, a pair of NASA-funded researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder and Northern Arizona University found that processing all the sources available on Mars would only increase atmospheric pressure to about 7 percent that of Earth – far short of what is needed to make the planet habitable.

Terraforming Mars, it seemed, was an unfulfillable dream.

Now, researchers from the Harvard University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the University of Edinburgh, have a new idea. Rather than trying to change the whole planet, what if you took a more regional approach?

This is all rather fascinating. And I wonder if any of this stuff will actually happen in the near future? Or if it will remain in theories, and local experiments here on Earth.

Tom White Photography - Moon #

Tom White:

This is a year’s worth of images I took of the moon using just my iPhone 7 through a telescope. The first time I tried it I was amazed by the detail and quality of shot that was possible on a phone, so I set about taking pictures at a various stages throughout the lunar cycle.

I was having a look through this collection of photos, and I was impressed with the level of variety. Even if we are tidally locked, and only ever see the same side, there’s quite a bit of detail to look at.

[Top Photo Credit: Tom White]