Astronomy news

Playing Tricks

News on plasma fusion - see ... and meanwhile, at ... according to a recent study the inner portion of one of Saturn's rings appears to be more opaque in some areas than in others - an optical illusion that makes the rings look more dense than they are.

China Moon

    At ... some really nice images of the surface of the Moon taken by the Chinese rover Yutu and the Chang'e lander.

At ... we are told there was a head on collision between earth and another planet, which gave rise to the Moon. The article is in the journal Science 2016:351(6272):493DOI:10.1126/science.aad0525

radioemitting jets

Jets, outbursts of super heated gas moving at close to the speed of light, hae long been associated with the cores of giant elliptical galaxies. Astronomers have found a distant galaxy that also emits intense radio jets pouring out of its heart (otherwise its black hole digestion system). Two other regions of the galaxy also seem to have jets emitting radio noise - see

comet and magnetics

At ... abstract of a paper by multiple authors from multiple space centres across Europe and the US. These are people looking at the data from the Rosetta Mission (as it is currently understood). It is essentially about the interactions of the solar wind with the outgassing comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In June there was an increase in the solar wind dynamic, a burst of energy that struck the comet much like the solar wind sometimes strikes earth's atmosphere full on.

moon and sun

Robert Farrar sent in links to two stories from Astronomy Now - see ... and ...

1) phases of the moon affect the amount of rainfally. When the moon is high in the sky it creates bulges in the atmosphere. As we live in a water world this means rainfall increases, but just an insignificant amount after reading a few lines - but what would happen if the moon was closer to the earth?

Worlds in Collision

Gary Gilligan sent in this one - at and ... where we are told Jupiter swallowed up a planet ten times the size of the earth that just happened to be rolling around the solar system with nowhere to go and it just happened to bump into Jupiter causing a massive collision event. Jupiter is the biggest planet in the inner solar system so I suppose the thinking is it is much easier to hit than any other planet.

Ceres, again, again

At ... Guisseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres way back in January of 1801 - 200 years prior to the Dawn Mission. Piazzi was the director of the Palermo Observatory in Sicily (Italy). He was convinceed he had found a comet - how wrong was he? It was later designated a non-comet as it was seen to have a circular orbit and comets, it was thought, all moved in elliptical orbits. For a while some astronomers even regarded it as a small planet. It was William Herschel who proposed Ceres represented a new idea - saying it was an asteroid.

orbital resonance

This post at ... see also the whole paper at ... and written by NASA scientist Renu Malhotra. It is basically an introduction to the study of orbital resonance as applied to the evolving solar system. Tall Bloke says it validates the study of planetary motion that is central to him and his friends so it is important to understand the link between planetary motion and variations of the Sun.

Planet Nine

I saw this first at January 20th but it has since spiralled on to lots of other sites such as ... Batygin and Brown of Caltech claim they have found evidence for a Neptune sized object orbiting the Sun beyond Pluto. Six small objects in the outer solar system, also beyond Pluto, are grouped together as if they are being shepherded along by a larger body - as yet not actually seen. That body, they say, is ten times the size of the Earth and has an elliptic orbit.


At ... water ice has been found on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (the ESA Rosetta Mission). The findings are published in January's Nature journal. The coma, the cloud of gas surrounding the nucleus and being blown into space like a Star Wars laser beam, is dominated by water molecules. Water ice must therefore be a major component of the nucleus.