Astronomy news

solar research

At ... IRIS and Hinode telescopes and satellites - looking at the Sun. Why is the Sun so hot? Ideas being explored, filaments, Alfven etc.


lonesome high spot

NASAs Dawn spacecraft spotted a tall conical mountain on Ceres

It stands 4 miles high and the perimeter is sharply defined - no rubble or debris at the base. . See

lots of noise

Lots of noise this week as apparently Stephen Hawking has spoken on the subject of black holes - see ... He claims he has come up with a solution to 'information loss' ... whatever that means. Other scientists were not so confident about Hawking's proposal - and the full write up has not even been published as on yet.

heat on Pluto

Stephen Smith may have a mechanism, loosely described, to explain the heat found on Pluto - following a query from an SIS member. See ... which is about other solar objects but will apply to Pluto and Charon. Heat and temperature gradients have been found on the outer planets (such as Neptune) located above the polar regions. Hot spots can also be seen in the atmosphere of Neptune. Similar heat has been witnessed from spacecraft monitoring Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Io and Enceladus etc.

get up to date

  get up to date with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko as we approach our autumn speaker meeting and the presentation by Mark Baily of the Armagh Observatory. For example, see ... where the surface of the comet is discussed in a paper in Geophysical Research Letters this month (August, 2015). There are numerous fractures and cracks on the surface of the comet.

black hole sling shot

At ... some supernovae can't be explained by consensus cosmology. They are an astronomical mystery. As such they are inclined to attract some peculiar theories and in this one, a 'binary black hole sling shot' is to blame according to a study just published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The problem actually is that astronomers can't see anything where the explosion of light took place - no trace of star formation, no cluster of old stars, nothing much at all.

Rosetta in August

  the comet is now at perihelion and is releasing permanent outflows and jets of material - see ... and the general appearance of the comet is brighter. 

a gentle auroral flow

  At August 11th .. it seems that for 4 days now the Earth has been inside a stream of fast moving solar wind. However, this has not sparked a geomagnetic storm or any kind of brilliant auroral phenomena. Instead, there has been what is described as a gentle glow of auroral light ringing the poles.

The images was taken by Ian Griffin in New Zealand, looking out over Otago Peninsular.

Euphrosyne asteroids

At ... NASAs WISE mission, which involved an infrared telescope and camera on a spacecraft, discovered a group of dark asteroids known as the Euphrasyne asteroids - which are distributed at the outer edge of the better known asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They have an unusual orbital path  tha juts wel above the ecliptic. They may also be the remnant of an ancient collision.

asteroid Bennu

At ... in 2016 NASA plans to launch a mission to asteroid Bennu in order to carry out several tasks. One is to map the Near Earth asteroid in order to detect minerals and organic molecules and search for signs of organic life. It will reach the asteroid in 2018 and return to Earth in 2023 - so a good deal of exploration is planned. Another task is to identify chemicals present on the asteroid - via infrared light.