News Archive

Q&A: Pulsar pioneer Jocelyn Bell Burnell (, Jan 30, 2019)   (suggested by Gary WA2JQZ, Nov 28, 2022)

SETI Pioneer Frank Drake Leaves a Legacy of Searching for Voices in the Void Scientific American, Sep 6, 2022 (suggested by Gary WA2JQZ)

Remembering Frank Drake, Who Listened To The Cosmos (  (Recommended by Bill Miller KC0FHN, Sept. 9, 2022)

Being an Amateur is Not Such a Bad Thing After All ( (Added by Gary WA2JQZ, Sept, 5, 2022)

Why people across the world see constellations, not just stars | Psyche Ideas – suggested by Gary WA2JQZ (August 21, 2022)

‘The Invisible Network’ Podcast | NASA – NASA’s podcast series about science with space communications. The latest 6-part series is about using the Deep Space Network. Includes how they are using their radio dishes for public education: 27. DSN – The Ultimate Classroom | NASA’s The Invisible Network Pod | NASA  . Also see Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope – Home (– Gary WA2JQZ (July 16, 2022)

Ultimate Space Telescope | NOVA | PBS – About how the new Webb Space Telescope was developed and what it is seeing with first light. – Gary WA2JQZ (July 15, 2022)

Looking to Mars for Life as We’ve Never Known It – YouTube – Another perspective on looking for life elsewhere. 4-minute video originally made in February 2021.

NASA’s solar forecast is turning out to be wrong. This team’s model is still on track. | Space – Dr. Scott McIntosh was our keynote speaker at the Western SARA Conference in 2019, held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, which we co-hosted. His address to us spoke about how they were modeling this latest solar cycle.  (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ, June 29, 2022)

APOD: 2022 February 2 – The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT ( (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ February 2, 2022.)

A New Scale-Model Solar System – Sky & Telescope – Sky & Telescope ( A new solar system model to scale was installed at UC Boulder. [S&T: January 20, 2022, suggested by Gary Agranat.]

Technosignature from Proxima Centauri — and why astronomers rejected it The forensic analysis of a potential signal from another civilization reveals how challenging the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is likely to become.
By The Physics arXiv Blog and Astronomy | Published: Thursday, December 9, 2021 [ Recommended by Gary Agranat WA2JQZ, December 29, 2021.]

NASA Artemis We’re going back to the Moon.  Soon.  This is big.  There will be a lot. This is designed to be sustainable, and to build a future from.  The country is investing heavily in this.  There also will be lots of good planetary and space science. [ Recommended by Gary Agranat WA2JQZ, November 26, 2021.]

Strange radio waves emerge from direction of the galactic centre – The University of Sydney    – Recommended by Don Lantham [October 14, 2021]. Also: What’s Causing the Mysterious Radio Waves Coming From the Center of the Milky Way? – Universe Today

Scientists want to build a new, very different Arecibo Telescope to replace fallen icon | Space (Suggested by Bill Miller, July 23, 2021)

Why the Supergiant Star Betelgeuse Went Mysteriously Dim Last Year – Scientific American. We were watching Betelgeuse’s dimming last year. Rich Russel put together a theory about the possibility that dust passing in front of the star was causing the dimming. He based that in part from examining VLA archived data. (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ June 17, 2021)

May 7, 2021: Waiting for the Grayline – Earth Science Picture Of the Day – a service of USRA (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ, May 15, 2021) Note: The significance of the D-Layer disappearing at the terminator is that layer attenuates (absorbs the energy of) the radio signals, especially the lower frequencies.  At sunrise and sunset the lower altitude D-Layer is in Earth’s shadow, and so disappears because it doesn’t become ionized by the sunlight. However, the higher altitude F-Layer is still in sunlight, is getting ionized by the Sun, and therefore refracts signals back to Earth just as in daytime.  In other words, the signals lose less energy in such conditions, and can propagate farther as they “skip” up and down to the ionosphere and back to Earth, traveling across the Earth.

Craft traveling beyond solar system detects hum emanating from deep space (   (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ, May 13, 2021)

Lunar Crater Radio Telescope: Illuminating the Cosmic Dark Ages ( (Suggested by Gary WA2JQZ, May 7, 2021)

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SPRITES (Recommended by Gary Agranat WA2JQZ,  April 9, 2021.)

Citizen scientist driven by the need to discover | Local News | (October 19, 2020).  Thomas Ashcraft was a speaker at the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) Western conference at the beginning of April 2021.  He is an amateur astronomer near Santa Fe, NM, and he spoke with us about his work photographing sprites.

Sprites are electromagnetic discharges above very strong thunderstorms, which reach up through the Earth’s mesosphere to the ionosphere.  The pulses last for a few thousandths of a second, so the eye does not easily catch them.  But cameras can.  These had been noticed for a while, but only got serious attention when an orbiting space crew confirmed them.  Now they are a new frontier in atmospheric science.

Thomas lives in what is called the Rio Grande Research Corridor, and he exchanges data and information with institutions there.  The Sandia National Labs gave him a camera, originally designed for satellites to photograph nuclear explosions, which he uses to monitor sky phenomena like sprites and meteors.  He has that coupled with a receiver. With that, he has determined that sprites create similar effects on radio signals as meteor scatter.  He has correlated detecting distant over-the-horizon VHF signals with sprites.

The above link is a profile about Thomas and his work from a local newspaper.  It includes an 8 minute video (linked below). He also has a website: –

Citizen scientist Thomas Ashcraft is an expert on capturing ‘wondrous’ sprites – YouTube