Astronomy news

Another Strike from ...

At ... which is a strange web site to find an article about comets striking earth (as they were less than sympathetic with the Younger Dryas boundary event hypothesis). Normally, Watts is quite sceptical of anything involving objects from outer space - but apparently the scientists behind the study came up with the global warming add-on (which is obligatory if your funding relies on mentioning a connection even though fossil fuel emissions were in short supply at the time).

The Dark Side

At ... when the Venus transit took place (Venus passing between Earth and the Sun) opportunities existed to get a better view of the planet (Venus). In June of 2012 scientists discovered a discrepancy (which they at first thought might be attributed to a technical fault in their telescope). X-rays and ultra-violet emissions were coming from the dark side of Venus. Naturally, this intrigued them and they checked out the details with data from another telescope. the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

making sun spots spin faster

At ... a study in October's Nature Communications (2016) by Chang Liu et al based on images of the sun by HINODE and other telescope arrays. The rotation of sun spots builds up magnetic energy that is released in the form of solar flares., However, they have also observed that flares can cause sun spots to rotate up to ten times faster - which tends to accentuate the magnetic nature of flares.


At ... giant rings around an exoplanet.

At ... a team of astrophysicists at the University of Portsmouth have created a map of voids and super clusters in the universe - which is said to solve a mystery. The map can be used to measure the effect of dark energy 'stretching' the universe. This is said to confirm Einstein's theory of gravity we are told.

hot earths

At ... when scientists began cataloguing exoplanets they compared them to solar system bodies. Hence we have terms such as hot Jupiters and super Earths. We also have hot Earths. They have now found hot earths can exist further from their home sun/star than previously thought (and are still classified as hot earths) - so what is going on? Out of 144 hot earths identified researchers estimate 24 if them orbit without a close planet.


According to scientists the universe is not rotating or being stretched in any particular direction - see ... we are told the cosmologic consensus is that the universe should be uniform in every direction. This assumption fuels the many calculations made about our universe so it is an important point. If it is not true it throws a spike in the wheel of mainstream theory - but scientists from UCL and Imperial College in London have confirmed the consensus view (Physical Review Letters, September 2016).

water everywhere

At ... NASAs Cassini probe seems to show liquid water 20 miles deep on Saturn's moon, Dione (following on from its discovery on two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus). Water has also been found on Europa and Ganymede and even on Pluto. The possibility of life on other cosmic bodies is thought to depend on water -and there is water being found everywhere in the solar system.

Proxima B

An earth like orbit of an exoplanet has captured the science world. Jovan Kesic forwarded a link to an article in Scientific American - go to ... It is a useful link as it illustrates some of the problems in zooming in to have a closer look.

dark matter challenge

At ... we learn that in the late 1970s astronomers Vera Rubin and Albert Bosma independently found that spiral galaxies rotate at a nearly constant speed. The implication was that stars and gases inside a galaxy do not decrease with radius as one might expect from Newton's law of the distribution of 'visible' matter. It remains approximately constant.

electrostatic space

At ... Steve Roescraft has self published a paper arguing that electrostatic forces could be preventing galaxies from flying apart. He contradicts mainstream by saying that extreme activity at the centre of galaxies (black hole jets) is is able to propel electrons and negatively charged particles towards the outer regions of those galaxies. This would give the galactic core a net positive electric charge while the outskirts wee negatively charged.