Astronomy news

sugary meteorites

Sugars in meteorites - go to ... a paper published in PNAS (June 2016) has been looking at carbonaceous meteorites - so called chemical time capsules. It is assumed they formed at the beginning of the universe (following Big Bang). Researchers from NASA have analysed sugar acids and sugar alcahols in meteorites. The paper describes the research and its conclusions

Expanding Planet

A real life expanding planet has been found - who says an expanding earth is out of the question? Go to ... Expanding planets have been known about by astronomers for nearly 20 years (but nobody seems to have told the geologists). What causes them to expand is a mystery. The planet in question appears to be a giant gas type similar, shall we say, to Jupiter. Can gas giants expand but rocky ones not so?

Black Hole jets

At ... a paper in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Oxford University Press, June 2016) concerns a simulation of the powerful jets ejected by supermassive black holes at the centre of large galaxies. Some 10 per cent of galaxies (assumed to have black holes) have jets of gas spouting in the opposite direction from the core. Hot ionised gas (plasma) is propelled outwards 'by the twisting magnetic fields of the rotating black hole.' You may note that streams of plasma coming from the Sun are produced within the Sun, a star.

Stellar Explosion

  In the June 2016 issue of Scientific American Daniel Kasen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has focused on developing new theoretical and computer models to explain the various types of supernovae.

feeding a hole

At last, a black hole  observed feeding - apparently. That is the headline at ... which is presumably derived from the press release. For the first time astronomers have detected clouds of 'cold'gas streaming towards a black hole at the centre of a galaxy (as mainstream theory portrays). However, we may also note the cloud of gas is still 150 light years away from the lip of the said black hole - and it is only assumed the cloud of gas will be consumed by the black hole (as that is what the mainstream theory insists).

dark gravity, phantom energy

At ... galaxies are moving away faster than expected. This is what we learnt a week ago. The question is - what is driving the expansion? Dark matter is one possibility, or dark energy, dark radiation and dark gravity. Apparently, we have dark speculation. No observation is perfect and therefore it is likely that miscalculation lies at the heart of the mystery.

blowing bubbles

At .. a mysterious ring of celestial microwaves, a giant celestial structure are some ways to describe a circular formation covering one third of the sky - possibly a spherical bubble 100 degrees across. The structure shows up in different wave lengths, from radio waves to gamma rays. One explanation is that it is a supernova remnant, a giant bubble hollowed out by the explosion of stars. We are then told, 'high mass stars burn their nuclear fuel so quickly that they live only a few million years before exploding ...'.

Surprising Mars

At ... Curiosity Rover has detected a mineral, tridymite, that can only be created in extremely hot temperatures. It seems Mars was once hotter than mainstream allows. What are the implications?

Red Pluto

Another Pluto image - this time of mountains. Pluto is believed to get its red tinge from tholim, found on the surface in molecular form. The unusual features in the image are pits or elongated craters forming what appear to be deep valleys. See

Not so quiet

That small sun spot has got bigger over the last day or two - see June 10th ... and there is a possibility of a solar flare (but not necessarily in the direction of the Earth). However, a coronal hole has developed too (a hole in the atmosphere of the sun that allows geomagnetic forces to escape) and the hole is said to stretch across a large portion of the northern hemisphere of the Sun. Coronal holes do not cause solar flares (sudden releases of plasma) but leak the solar wind and in turn can cause geomagnetic storms in the magnetosphere of the Earth.