The AAS meeting is over, and I appear to have recovered from my viral loading. As usual, I had a lot of fun, but unfortunately time was short. I did get to briefly meet with a few other bloggers (notably Stein Sigurdsson, Rob Knop, my old pals Pamela and Michael and Aaron, and the wonderful Jennifer Ouellette, who came to my skeptical talk only to watch me flee in panic).
I did have one meetup that looms larger than the others... quite literally. Northrup Grumman is building the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble. It's a monster, with a 6 meter mirror, and a sunshade that is as big as a tennis court. But why describe it with words, when the magic of YouTube awaits?
It was freezing when I recorded that, and I was still recovering from my, um, incident, so I was not at the top of my game then. The traffic noise was a pain, too, but all in all I think it turned out OK. I need to get a monopod for my webcam.
Since the vid is a little fuzzy, here is a nicer image (click it for a high-res version on Flickr):
This model was very impressive. Check out the mirror assembly!
I have several friends who work on JWST and I tease them a lot about cost overruns and delays. But in all seriousness, when this thing goes up, it will be one major fracking piece of hardware. It will revolutionize our knowledge of the Universe, and that's one of the main reasons we're in this game in the first place.