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John Mather

The James Webb Space Telescope and the Big Bang: A Q&A with Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather

As the person at the other end of the James Webb Space Telescope social media, I answer a lot of questions. One big area of interest is always the Big Bang. And that’s for obvious reasons – there’s a definite fascination with the universe’s beginnings. We want to know where … Continue Reading →


FIgure 4

The freest of free-falls

  • By Ira Thorpe
  • June 8, 2016
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It’s hard to get used to the change of pace.  Scientists have been laboring for half a century to detect gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. In 1966, Joseph Weber published the first results from a device he had invented to detect gravitational waves. Weber would later famously claim to have … Continue Reading →


James Webb Cake Telescope

Sweet Update on the James Webb Space Telescope

  • By Maggie Masetti
  • April 21, 2016
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We gave you all an update on the progress of the James Webb Space Telescope mirror assembly not long ago. But there have also been exciting updates on JWST’s flight instruments as well. They just haven’t been as easily visible, because the excitement was happening deep in belly of NASA … Continue Reading →


CGRO being deployed via space shuttle

Looking Back: The Legacy of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory

  • By Maggie Masetti
  • April 13, 2016
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There are great observatories – and then there are “Great Observatories,” a title given to four space telescopes launched in the 1990s/early 2000s, each studying a different wavelength of light. The Hubble Space Telescope, primarily looking at visible light, you are likely familiar with; it was the first launched and … Continue Reading →


Diagram of Hulse/Taylor's binary system

We Knew That Already

The Advanced LIGO group announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves on February 11, 2016 – it was a momentous day for physics and astrophysics. But the way some news outlets have reported it, saying things like “this proves Einstein was right,” sounds a little bit off to me: … Continue Reading →


space forensics opening screen

Calling all armchair crime-solvers!

  • By Sara Mitchell
  • March 9, 2016
  • Comments Off on Calling all armchair crime-solvers!

Stars exploding? Who would do such a thing? Join bumbling detective Eagle Quark on his 8-bit adventures at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in our new Space Forensics game! Eagle is somewhat clueless in his hunt for suspects behind the mysterious deaths of stars in the night sky… and he … Continue Reading →


24877166436_22dfbb89fe

Mirror, Mirror

When last I updated, the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror was under construction here at NASA Goddard. I believe we were on mirror segment number five. I’m very pleased to say that the primary mirror assembly was officially completed on February 3, 2016! Here are a few more photos … Continue Reading →


Test Masses

Release the beasts!

  • By Ira Thorpe
  • February 29, 2016
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Captain A. G. Lamplugh, a British pilot from the early days of aviation once famously said “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.” Space flight is less forgiving still. A single … Continue Reading →


The heart of the ASTRO-H Soft X-ray Spectrometer is the microcalorimeter array at center. The five-millimeter square forms a 36-pixel array. Each pixel is 0.824 millimeter on a side, or about the width of the ball in a ballpoint pen. The detector's field of view is approximately three arcminutes, or one-tenth the apparent diameter of the full moon.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Five Questions about ASTRO-H/Hitomi (and launch videos!)

  • By Maggie Masetti
  • February 22, 2016
  • Comments Off on Five Questions about ASTRO-H/Hitomi (and launch videos!)

We were able to get our hands on these “5 questions your neighbor might ask” about the ASTRO-H mission (recently renamed Hitomi), and in particular NASA Goddard’s contributions. Here are the answers, courtesy of Dr. Rich Kelly, the Principal Investigator of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS). [Fun fact – he … Continue Reading →


ASTRO-H Launches

A New Eye in Space

It’s with greatest pleasure that we say congratulations to the whole ASTRO-H team for a successful launch. Or should we say, the Hitomi team. ASTRO-H has been newly re-christened, as is the Japanese tradition upon a successful launch. The name Hitomi has a significance, and that is this. According to … Continue Reading →


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