Astronomy news

Guide to astronomy

Interesting guide to astronomy (but nothing controversial) - go to

Staring Down the Barrel of a Black Hole

At ... a blazar is like staring down the barrel of a black hole, we re informed ....

Neutrino Breakthrough

These linsk came from Jovan. Many thanks. At ... and concerns the discovery of a neutrino that is  project to have been emitted from a black hole four billion years ago. It finally ended up on the Antarctic ice sheet - landing in September. A neutrino detector planted by scientists in the ice recorded its presence - with a short blue flash of light. The research is published in Science journal (July 2018).

Lunar Dust, Io, and Pluto

Sent in by Robert - a new volcano on Io (recorded by the Juno mission) - got to ... Io is the most geologically active body in the solar system - and Juno is revealing new hot spots.

Asteroids and other things

Robert sent in the link ... the Dawn spacecraft is nearing the Ceres asteroid.

At ... the Japanese space mission to asteroid Ryugu, 3.2 billion km away

At ... the secret origins of asteroids and meteorites. Instead of a planet sized object splitting apart we now have five or six minor planets breaking up and creating 85 per cent of the 200,000 steroids in the so called asteroid belt.

Eta Carinae

Big news this week on the astronomy front - NuSTAR mission proves superstar Eta Carinae shoots out cosmic rays (see ... a study using data from NASAs NuSTAR space telescope suggests Eta Carinae, the most prominent and massive stellar system within 10,000 light years, is accelerating particles of high energy - some of which arrive in our solar system.

Uranus in Collision

Sent in By Robert - .... the excessive tilt in the orbit of Uranus was caused by a cataclysmic collision, we are informed. This seems to have been provoked by the discovery that exoplanets can have tilted orbits. In our solar system the Earth is titled at 23 degrees and Uranus by 98 degrees - but in contrast Mercury has a small tilt, at only 0.3 degrees. The amount of obliquity affects seasonality.

Comet and Oxygen

At ... molecular oxygen found on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko back in 2016 is not produced on its surface according to an analysis of Rosetta data. Instead, it must have an origin in the interior of the comet. Instruments onboard Rosetta analysed the comet's coma and revealed it had water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and molecular oxygen. On Earth oxygen is essential for life - and it is thought to be produced by photosynthesis. It seems oxgen on Earth may also have an origin inside the planet - topped up by photosynthesis.

Rain on Mars

At ... comparison of branching angles on Mars with arid landscapes on Earth show some similarities. Researchers are suggesting narrow channelled networks on Mars are due to heavy rainfall run-off - published in the open science access site Science Advances. This differs from prior explanations as the  channels have been interpreted as the remains of what was once a standing body of water. In addtion, other theories include groundwater supping, or leakage, fluvial run-off, and ice melting.

Red Rainbow

At (June 28th 2018) we have a red rainbow which was also a mignight rainbow - affected by red rays from the midnight Sun in Nome, Alaska. The rainbow developed - disappeared, and developed again, and shortly grew into a full arc against a bank of rain clouds. The Sun was hugging the horizon which explins the red colour - the only colour available as the Sun was so low. All the other colours of the rainbow had been scattered by air molecules and dust particles in front of the low hung Sun.