Top Astronomy Stories in 2022

Image (Credit): The stellar nursery 30 Doradus, nickname of the Tarantula Nebula, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. (

Given that 2022 was a busy year, I thought I would highlight the top astronomy stories on the site – the good and the bad covering space missions to TV shows. Unlike other websites, I waited until the new year to create the list just in case we were visited by extraterrestrials. In this way, we now have a full catalog of the 2022 happenings.

Here is the list in no particular order other than science first, politics and commercial space second, and entertainment third.

  1. James Webb Space Telescope begins operation – see site link here;
  2. Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully shifts the course of an asteroid pair – see site link here;
  3. Artemis I Orion capsule successfully orbits the Moon – see site link here;
  4. Commercial satellites become an increasing threat to Earth-based telescopes – see site link here;
  5. China completes its first space station – see site link here;
  6. Boeing is closer to being the second U.S. company to send astronauts to the International Space Station – see site link here;
  7. Ukraine invasion derails the Russian space program – see site link here;
  8. Russia reconfirms support for International Space Station – see site link here;
  9. Star Trek gets it right by returning to the past with Strange New Worlds – see site link here; and
  10. Star Wars gets it right with its new Andor series. – see site link here.

I cannot wait to see what 2023 will bring.

Space Stories: Black Holes, X-Rays, and Exploding Stars

Image (Credit): Animation showing a binary system of a large, hot blue star and a black hole orbiting each other. (ESO/L.Calçada)

Here are some recent stories of interest. Have Discovered an Especially Sneaky Black Hole

VFTS 243 is a binary system, which means it is composed of two objects that orbit a common center of mass. The first object is a very hot, blue star with 25 times the mass of the Sun, and the second is a black hole nine times more massive than the Sun. VFTS 243 is located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located about 163,000 light-years from Earth. ESA Scaling Back Design of X-ray Astronomy Mission

Faced within increasing costs, the European Space Agency is looking for ways to revise the design of a large X-ray space telescope, an effort that could have implications for NASA’s own astrophysics programs…That effort will involve potential changes to its instrument configuration as well as creation of a science “redefinition” team to reconsider science objectives. The goal will be to develop a revised concept, called a minimum disrupted mission, that will cost ESA no more than 1.3 billion euros but still perform science expected of a flagship-class mission. Rocket Mission Using ‘Astronomical Forensics’ to Study Exploded Star

A NASA-funded sounding rocket mission will observe the remnants of an exploded star, uncovering new details about the eruption event while testing X-ray detector technologies for future missions. The High-Resolution Microcalorimeter X-ray Imaging, or Micro-X, experiment will launch Aug. 21 from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The mission’s target of study is some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, off the edge of the W-shaped constellation known as Cassiopeia. There, a massive bubble of radiant material known as Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, marks the site of a brilliant stellar death.