Two rather famous telescopes have hit the news for different reasons. The James Webb Space Telescope is the subject of an article in the Yale Daily News. The 6.5 metre infrared telescope, which will exceed Hubble in its resolving power and sensitivity, though operating on different wavelengths, is set to launch in 2014 for a decade of observation. The article, which reports on a lecture by Nobel Laureate Dr John Mather is here.
From the largest proposed space telescope to the largest existing single dish radio telescope. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, famously felled by Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in the closing scenes of Golden Eye, has received a glowing reference from the Near Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Survey. The report, which details how NASA’s present surveys and facilities are in general insufficient to keep tabs on asteroids and comets above 140m in size, praises the radio telescope as the best individual tool available for imaging and tracking NEOs. The report comes as Arecibo looks to be on the brink of having its funding reduced to a level that will entail its closure. It is believed the glowing reference is a necessary but not in itself sufficient step to securing new funding, according to Astronomy Now.