Reality Straight Up!

Thoughts & Observations of a Free Range Astrophysicist

The Man Behind the Pillars

Astronomy Magazine asked me to write a piece about what the iconic Hubble Space Telescope image of the Eagle Nebula has meant to me personally. The short answer: It’s been a wild ride!

Art and Science: A False Dichotomy

Is there no beauty in truth?

During the Dutch Golden Age, did Johannes Vermeer use optical devices to capture light, detail, and perspective as never before? If he did, does that make him a fraud, or instead an altogether different kind of genius?

Republished from my monthly Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.(Photo of Vermeer’s The Music Lesson from The Royal Collection, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)

Intentional Ignorance

Climate change deniers are trying to make NASA conveniently blind

There are a record breaking three Category 4 hurricanes and a new tropical depression in this August 30, 2015 image of the Pacific Ocean taken with NASA’s GOES-15 satellite. We depend on our ability to observe Earth from space. So why is Congress gutting the program?

This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.”

Think Before You Tweet

It can feel really good to call someone out when they cross a line. But if you want to accomplishing something positive, tweeting from the hip is probably the wrong way to go.

Saving Capitalism from Itself

VIII. Win-Win or Lose-Lose, Our Choice

Much of the economic discussion between liberals and conservatives is an argument over how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The only question that really matters is how to keep the whole ship from going under. (The final installment in an 8 part series on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”)

The Good, The Bad & The Hubbled

Stories from the front lines of a wild ride

After 30 years of being associated with the Hubble Space Telescope I’ve picked up some fun stories. I’ve also learned a few things about the sometimes fine line between success and failure in complex, rapidly changing, high stakes times. This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of articles where I share a bit of what I picked up along the way.

Saving Capitalism from Itself

VII. What is Wealth?

Whether as inherited capital, high incomes or the coffers of corporate “persons,” money begats money as never before. In a modern capitalist economy, that is really all you need to know. (Part 7 in a series on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”)

Over his 30 year career as an internationally known astrophysicist, Dr. Jeff Hester was a key member of the team that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. With one foot always on the frontiers of knowledge, he has been mentor, coach, team leader, award-winning teacher, administrator and speaker, to name a few of the hats he has worn. His Hubble image, the Pillars of Creation, was chosen by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential photographs in history.
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