Astronomy news

Asteroid Day

At .... we have live streaming from a conference in Luxembourg on Friday the 30th June (2017). Experts will be there to answer questions via social media etc. Supporting events will take place in 70 other countries and the idea is to bring to the public's attention the threat from asteroids and meteors impacting with the Earth and its inhabitants. Why they want to publicise this issue at this point in time is perhaps a mystery - or are they seeking to dispel some of the alarmist web sites regarding asteroid horror stories.


Interesting read at ... modelling the Sun's surface has been difficult. Wild jets of solar material burst forth from the Sun's surface all the time, erupting as fas as 60 miles a second. They can reach 6000 miles high prior to collapsing back down to the surface/ These are known as spicules - and solar scientists have found difficulty in replicating them on their super computers. However, it seems they have now succeeded - see the phenomenon below.

Planet X Again

At ... an online paper currently available at is written by two researchers at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and claims there may be a planet sized body (somewhere in the region of the size of Mars or the Earth, orbiting in the outer solar system. The hypothesis comes about as a means to explain some orbital inconsistencies amongst distant bodies in the Kuiper Belt region.

day time meteor shower

At June 6th 2017 we have news of a day time meteor shower this week as the Earth is passing through a stream of dusty debris from - no one knows for sure.

Theory of Inflation

Another one of Jovan's links. Go to ... which is dated back to February 2017. It concerns the origin of space and time, as outlined in 'Pop Goes the Universe' - which argues against mainstream consensus theory of Big Bang and Expansion. The theory presented is not too different from the preferred explanation in spite of the controversy engendered. The universe began with a bounce rather than a bang (or explosion), from a previously contracting universe.

Oxygen and Comets

At ... why do comets expel oxygen? It was first encountered in early 2015, and previously was unknown (or that is what is implied). It  was revealed in the data received from Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko via the Rosetta Mission. It was discovered as a component of the comet's atmosphere, or coma. We don't know if oxygen is a component in the atmosphere's of other comets but it may be.  The paper, in Nature Cummunications (May 2017), suggests water vapour molecules stream off a comet as it is heated by the Sun.


At ... Gary sent in this link to the New Scientist website - Jupiter probe shows huge magnetism and storms. Big planets come with big surprises, the author of the piece begins - and yes, surprises seem to be in store. The annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union was treated to the first release of data from the Juno spacecraft, now in orbit around Jupiter. It's a game changer. There is a dense zone of ammonia gas around its equator and lots of ammonia clouds elsewhere.

Rings Around ...

In 2014 two rings, separated by a gap, were discovered around Chariklo, the largest known of the Centaur objects orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune. It is hundred of kilometers across and its rings are as opaque as those around Saturn and Uranus. Japanese researchers have modelled the two rings around Chariklo and concluded the inner ring, at least, should be unstable - without help to keep it afloat. The fact the rings are in existence suggests small particles - but another possibility is they remain as a result of a shepherd satellite (a big object amongst the particles).

Orbital Evolution

At ... an interesting link after Bob Johnson's talk at the SIS Spring Meeting on 29th April. The orbits of the planets are affected by two uniformitarian acceptable processes - one developed by Einstein, and the other, by Newtonian theory of gravity. In the latter an orbit becomes narrower over time, more and more elliptical, moving the object closer to the Sun at it's furthest point. The other concerns the periodic shift of the orbit of Mercury which is part of general relativity.