Astronomy news

ancient asteroid clout

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/23/worlds-largest-asteroid-impacts-fo... ... a cosmic object created a 400km wide impact zone in Australia's Warburton Basin. Apparently, the crater had disappeared - but geophysicists have rediscovered it. Dr Andrew Glikson, a well known contributor to the Benny Peiser CcNET email thread some years ago (now preserved at Bob Kobres web site), said the impact zoane was found during drilling operations as part of geothermal research. It was a double whammy, an asteroid that had split into two pieces prior to impact.

Rosetta

At http://phys.org/print346044381.html ... molecular nitrogen has been detected on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by instruments onboard the Rosetta spacecraft

Molecular nitrogen is thought to have been the most common type of nitrogen in the early solar system. It also dominates the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan and is present elsewhere.

At http://phys.org/print346078139.html ... apparently the probe which landed on the comet has been inactive now for four months.

nano flares

The image below shows x-rays streaming off the Sun as seen by NASAs NuSTAR telescope array system. Se http://phys.org/print346063299.html ...

dust on Mars

The latest Thunderbolts video is something of a beauty - dust in the atmosphere of Mars, and aurorae. Go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KVV-hob3e4&feature_youtu.be

dust in the galaxy

An interesting insight into how scientists sometimes think at http://phys.org/print345994897.html

A history of the Moon

The Chinese Yutu moon rover found evidence of at least nine distinct rock layers beneath its wheels - on one small stretch of the lunar surface - see www.space.com/28810-moon-history-chinese-moon-rover.html

This suggests the Moon has been geologically active according to Long Xiao, and volcanoes may be part of that activity. Yutu was equipped with 3 cameras designed to cary out different tasks such as penetrating radar, near infrared spectrometry and X-ray spectrometry. The initial round of research was published in the journal Science (march 12th).

The Rosetta comet is really rather dull

The presence of ice on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is no surprise. Its very cold on the rock racing through space - colder than your worst dreams might imagine. At http://phys.org/print345465855.html ... the ice, or what looks like water ice, is located in the neck region, between the head and the body of the comet. This is the region where jets of dust and gas are issuing from - creating the neck in the process. The interpretation is therefore not without a certain amount of doubt although frozen water must be present as water vapour has been seen to jet off the comet.

life on other worlds

Enceladus is currently being targeted as another location for life beyond Earth - see http://phys.org/print345364303.html

This moon of Saturn has geysers that eject plumes of water and ice. A new study has found they also contain sand (silica grains).

Wakey! Wakey!

Wakey! Wakey!, the catch phrase to an old TV show, resonates with the call out for the comet probe Philae to awake from its four months sleep - see http://phys.org/print345369791.html

Solar energy is required to recharge the batteries of Philae which will hopefully occur as the comet get closer to the Sun - but there is a problem. Apparently, it is not so small as I imagined, and is in fact the size of a washing machine - but where is it hiding?

coronal mass ejection March 11th

  coronal mass ejection on March 11th. Go to http://spaceweather.com