Astronomy news

Rosetta Update

At http://phys.org/print335689483.html ... the spacecraft is still orbiting the comet but is not in contact with the probe. However, it is able to continue with its own research, gathering data. In the long term it is hoped that Rosetta will be around long enough to witness the development of the comet's coma - as it get closer to the Sun.

The Sun and Lightning

At http://phys.org/print335609396.html ... we are told the Sun may be playing a part in the generation of lightning strikes on Earth by temporarily bending the Earth's magnetic field and allowing a shower of energetic particles to enter the upper atmosphere. Researchers from Reading University have been looking at this for some 5 years and their findings have been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters (this month).

What Gravity did for us

We all know what the Romans did for us - they created the border between Scotland and England. What did gravity do for us? It saved the universe according to a new scientific paper - see http://phys.org/print335524004.html It's all about Big Bang dynamics, the Higgs Bosun particles - and the expansion of the universe.

Philae

The ROSETTA Mission that landed a 220lb probe, the Philae, on Comet Churyumov Gerasimenko was a remarkable engineering and technological feat by the ESA. It has been in the planning stage for many years and this may account for the surprise when the probe bounced up and down at point of contact. The surface was much harder than expected - in spite of all the dust.

What makes hail stones

At http://phys.org/print335198820.html ... hailstones in storms can for around biological material that is swept up and bounced around clouds. In the process they pick up an ice coating that may then rain down as hail stones.

Red Spot on Jupiter

Interesting link considering what has been alleged of the red spot in Velikovskian literature. At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-391 ... Jupiter's red spot is not another Venus in the making. The red colouration is due to chemicals broken apart by sunlight in the planet's uppermost atmosphere. This view has come about as a result of NASA and its Cassini Mission (see also www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html). Laboratory experiments have reproduced the red colour. Ultra Violet light was used in order to simulate sunshine.

 

Bolide Events 1994-2013

NASA released the map below that reveals that small asteroids frequently enter and disintegrate in the Earth's atmosphere with a random distribution around the world. It is a visualisation of data gathered by US sensors over a 20 year period - some 556 occurrences of fireball activity.

 

Comet behaving like a comet

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2014/11/mars-once-in-a-million-years-comet... ... is another report on the NASA release on Comet Siding Spring from data produced by their MAVEN mission to Mars. Debris from the comet caused an intense meteor shower and enabled a new layer of ions, or charged particles, to the atmosphere of Mars. From observational data NASA scientists were able to make a direct connection between the input of the debris and the ions.

galactic corpses

At http://phys.org/print334486790.html ... we learn there is a mystery at the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It has lots of gas, dust, and a huge black hole three million times the size of our Sun, but it has no pulsars - the corpses of dead stars. It is thought a lot of pulsars should exist at the galactic centre as stars form, thrive, and die - much like us. Eyes are being drawn towards the black hole - has it been munching on pulsars?

Going back to Comet Siding Spring's brush with Mars

Not a lot of information has come out of NASA on the recent close passage to Mars by Comet Siding Spring. However, at www.spaceweather.com on November 7th (scroll down if necessary) you will find a short bit taken from a NASA press conference. It resulted in a heavy meteor shower with an origin in the comet - and this is described as the highlight. A few tons of comet dust were deposited on Mars. A human sitting on the surface of Mars might have seen thousands of shootings stars per hour - a veritable meteor storm.