Astronomy news

Jupiter chucking stuff at Earth

The two links below were sent in by Gary. At ... Mars is losing water faster than previously thought we learn. This may effect the search for life - as water is the assumed key. It is thought water on Mars was a fact - in the past. A residue is still locked up in polar ice caps. Indeed, NASAs Global Surveyor, a few years ago, found gullies that may have been created by flowing water - although that is an open question.

Mercury Strip

This story has been sent in by Gary - see ... and yes, it really does say the outer layers of Mercury may have been stripped off by the young planet Venus. However, the events are dated to the early solar system and there is nothing Velikovskian involved. The speculation is that Venus passed close to Mercury on several occasions, stripping it of its outer layers, and again this looks like a chaotic solar system.

Dark Energy doubts

At ... new evidence that a key assumption concerning the discovery of dark energy is faulty. We might even ask at this part if dark energy was really discovered - rather than an idea that was repeated and became de facto by due process. Anyway, here we have one idea of why it might have flown in cosmological circles - based on an assumption that might turn out to be an error.

Comets and X-rays

At ... telescopes around the world have been focussed on Comet Borisov, the apparent interstellar visitor. It is moving so fast it has not been captured by our Sun, yet still sports a tail of dust and debris.


The Sun Close Up

An article in the journal Nature - see ... and ... see also ... concerns the highly energetic particles that are hurled from the Sun. They are, apparently, more varied and active than previously considered by solar scientists.

Bennu Mission Oddities

At ... shortly after NASAs OSIRIS REx spacecraft arrived at Bennu it was discovered the asteroid was active - dislodging particles into space. After studying images beamed back over several weeks scientists wrote a paper for the journal Science (of December 6th 2019). The discharges occurred from different points on the asteroid. Sample collection on Bennu is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020 - delivered to earth in the autumn.

Planetary Wave

At  (5th December 2019) we have details of a planetary wave supercharging noctilucent clouds in the southern hemisphere. NASAs AIM spacecraft detected the phenomena and took images (see below). Planetary waves are huge ripples of temperature and pressure that flow in the atmosphere in response to coriolis forces. In this instance the planetary wave is boosting noctilucent clouds over Antarctica, causing them to spin out to latitudes where they are not normally seen. In this instance, over New Zealand.

Comet Outbursts

Sent in by William - ... NASAs exoplanet hunting mission has caught images of a comet outburst in unprecedented detail - an explosive emission of dust, ices, and gases. It caught on camera Comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. The write-up was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on November 22nd 2019. The outburst itself occurred on September 26th 2018 when an estimated million kilograms of material was ejected from the comet.

Stars Slinging Comets

Another mainstream theory ruptured it would seem. At ... stars and comets as dance partners, linked into a gravitational celestial interaction that was predicted by Oort many moons ago. Polish astronomers have captured images of two nearby passing stars that seem to pluck up comets and then swing them into an orbit around our star, the Sun (entering our solar system). Astronomers think the Oort Cloud is out there on the edge of the solar system (or just beyond it).

Shining Apparition

At ... it is interesting to see how the idea Comet 21/Borisov is an interstellar intruder has become a mainstream mantra - without any really firm evidence apart from the fact it is travelling very fast and its trajectory. Never the less, going with the flow, the comet has now started to shine brightly - just like a comet. Its tail is extending behind it to around 100,000 miles, or 160,000 km in EU speak. The comet head itself is estimated at around one mile across.