Astronomy news

space rocks

Lots of links and information now emerging on the Rosetta mission. At ... is a post on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its interaction with the solar wind. It is the constant battle between the comet and the solar wind that sculpts the ion tail - and Rosetta's instruments are monitoring the detail. Activity has been increasing the closer the comet gets to perihelion - a fortnight away.

Irish eclipses

At ... enigmatic images on a slab of stone at the back end of a cairn on

Curiosity, Zooniverse, Terrains

Mars Curiosity Rover vehicle has found bedrock with high levels of silica - see ... mudstone and sandstone has allso been discovered.

Three bright spots on Ceres are still puzzling scientists - see ... but a now a haze appears to have them stumped (for a while). Are the white spots ice or salt - or something else. Last year ESA scientists spotted water vapour emanating from the surface of Ceres - is thee a conncetion with the haze (or mist) and the white spots.

lots on Pluto this past week

The flyby of Pluto by a NASA mission to the far reaches of the solar system has caught the imagination of the media, and Joe Public. At ... we have icy mountains on Pluto and some nice pictures of Charon, its largest moon (Pluto has 5 moons). A close up image of an equatorial region of Pluto shows up a mountain range with peaks as high as 11,000 feet. There is also a large heart shaped feature - probably ice. Charon on the other hand has a 6 mile long canyon.


Useful links as we are having a talk on comets at our autumn speaker meeting. At ... Comet PanSTARRS made an appearance in northern skies in June on the NE horizon, at around dawn. In early July it became vaguely visible in the evening in southern latitudes. At perihelion it was 28 million miles away from the Sun, much closer than the Rosetta comet will come next month.

green skies

At ... more on the space weather baloon mission by students, 'Earth to Sky Calculus' and a nice image, below, of green skies over Minnesota. These occurred without a solar storm, and though they look like aurora, they are not.

... the phenomenon is known as 'air glow' and is caused by chemical reactions in the atmosphere caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Pluto image

one of the images being released by NASA. More to follow.

double beating of the solar heart

At ... we learn of a new 'model' of the Sun which claims to mirror the solar cycle (which is little understood) and not only that they say they can predict irregularities within the 11 year heartbeat. The model assumes a twin dynamo affect in two layers of the Sun, one near the surface and the other somewhere in the innards.


This is an image of the far side of Pluto courtesy of

  which came from the New Horizons spacecraft - taken from 2.5 million miles away. Scientists are said to be intrigued by the dark spots and the even spacing. The spacecraft is due to reach its closest point on July 14th (so expect further news tomorrow or the next day).

comet bacteria

At .. comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is being studied in detail by the ESA Rosetta spacecraft and the Philae Lander. Lots of vested interests are involved - not least the Electric Universe theory. However, the Wickramasinghe and Hoyle theory of life from outer space (bacteria riding on comets and meteorites) is also up for confirmation - or denial.