Bad Astronomy

I am interviewed by the Weinersmiths

Zach Weiner, of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and Kelly Smith, of Weinersmith, interviewed me for their new podcast, The Weekly Weinersmith. I am actually only their second guest, so we’ll see if the podcast survives.

We talked about the James Webb Space Telescope, mostly, though as usual when I talk to Zach we both revert to 15 year old boys. But only briefly, and only if 15 year old boys paid attention in world history class.

I’ll note I made a mistake in the interview: I said JWST will have 6 mirrors, but it actually has 18. D’oh! I remember very clearly picturing the telescope in my head (it’s hard to do a web search during an interview) and for some dumb reason I was thinking of the old MMT, which I’ll admit is a little bizarre. Heat of the moment, I guess. I wasn’t even within an astronomer’s usual factor of two, so I guess I have to give myself three geek demerits.

I think I made up for it by calling JWST – since its future is uncertain – “Schrödinger’s telescope”.

In fact, the stuff I said about JWST deals mostly with its politics and budgetary woes. I’ve written about this before:

- Where will JWST’s money come from?
- The Senate has “saved” JWST? Hang on a sec, folks…
- The watershed moment for JWST
- Hubble’s successor: doomed or saved?
- Congress puts NASA and JWST on the chopping block

So there you go. I’ll note that it’s mostly wondering about JWST’s and NASA’s future until about 45 minutes in, and then we get all optimistic and fun.

Zach and Kelly were great hosts, letting me blather on until I ran out of air. Knowing them both – Kelly’s a scientist, and Zach a hugely devoted science enthusiast and supporter (he’s teaching himself advanced calculus and blogging about it) – this will be a podcast to keep your ear on. Subscribe to it!