Astronomy news

Black Holes

At https://phys.org/print435551406.html ... new research challenges existing models of black holes as recent findings seem to show magnetic fields associated do not come up to scratch. However, for a different view of the nature of black holes go to www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2018/01/19/electric-nodes/ ... we are told astronomers know black holes exist because they can see energetic radiation and collimated jets erupting. The latter are thought to result from matter falling into a black hole's gravity field.

Update on Meteor

At https://www.space.com/39431-michigan-meteor-explosion-shook-earth.html ... we learn that although it was just a few feet across its speed was enough to shake the ground as it exploded above ground. It was an explosion in the atmosphere rather than an earthquake but it registered as a magnitude 2.0 seismic event according to the National Weather Service. Larry Ruff, a seismologist at the University of Michigan, said that in 35 years he had never seen an atmospheric event produce such a strong signature. It was a much smaller object than the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in 2013.

Titan Sea Level

At https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/01/saturns-moon-titan-sports-earth... .... using Cassini data Cornell astronomers have created a topographical image of Titan. It revealed several new features - such as mountains (no higher than 700m so perhaps better to describe them as hills). Two locations in the equatorial region are depressions. Titan also has three seas (on the surface) and they have a common sea level (just like the Earth). They are measuring Titan's geoid - the shape that the surface would take under the influence of gravity and rotation.

A Lonely Black Hole

At https://phys.org/print435378398.html ... the odd behaviour of a star led to a second look - and a third. It was decided something was disturbing its orbit - and the researcher opted for a black hole. Not any old black hole but a lonely black hole. It was hiding behind the star, it is alleged. However, digging deeper we learn that they expected to find black holes in this globular cluster as that is what theory said so. Globular clusters are supposed to breed black holes - yet none have been found in association with them until now (and even then it is guesswork).

Michigan Meteor

At http://spaceweather.com (17th January 2018) we learn that a meteor exploded over Michigan with a sonic boom and a bright flash of light over the Great Lakes region. The shadow cast by the fireball was brighter than the full moon - indicating the meteor penetrated fairly deep into the atmosphere. According to USGS the explosion may have caused a magnitude 2.0 earthquake - not a very strong earthquake but as far as it is known, from not a very big meteor. What might a really big bus sized meteor have done if it had penetrated deep into the atmosphere?

Diamond Encrustment

Sent in by Jovan - interesting claim - go to www.livescience.com/61409-extraterrestrial-hypatia-stone.html ... a space rock known as the Hypatia Stone, is diamond encrusted. It was found in SW Egypt in 1996 - little more than pebble size but it seems to belong to no known meteor category. Naturally, some lateral thinking has been applied and it has now been suggested it formed before the solar system. The stone consists of a carbon rich matrix shot through with a variety of rare minerals.

Wrong on Jupiter

Sent in  by Robert - https://crev.info/2018/01/astronomical-theories-totally-wrong-upside/ ... which concerns a couple of admissions that have already been aired on the News. Space exploration is throwing up all kinds of discoveries many of which contradict mainstream astronomical thinking. However, astronomers generally admit they are wrong - unlike some other fields of science. They have been proved wrong on many occasions over the last 40 years or so but they are out there in space finding out new things all the time - and testing theories.

Ice Veil

Anyone who can remember Isaac Vail's idea of a vast ring of ice around the earth (that subsequently collapsed leading to lots of water falling out of the sky)will be surprised to learn, if they had been sceptical of the idea, that Saturn's rings in an image beamed back by the Cassini spacecraft, are a translucent ring of ice and rocks draped around the gas giant. See www.space.com/39324-saturn-rings-make-veil-of-ice.html

Black Hole Burping

This story is at https://phys.org/print434905088.html ... a black hole caught burping. This rather strange tone of language goes on all the time in cosmological wonder worlds. If black holes aren't munching or feasting they are letting out wind from their bellies. It is all related to the assumption that black holes gobble material - and lick their lips afterwards, pat their bellies with a note of contentment, burp and fall asleep (become inactive once again). All clever stuff. This particular black hole has been active recently on two occasions.

Misbehaving Comets

At http://spaceweather.com we have 3 stories on comets currently visible with binoculars (posts dated 10th and 11th January). One concerns a strange blue comet beyond the orbit of Mars - comet Pan Starrs. Active jets of gaseous material are streaming from the comet nucleus and feeding a tail that is full of swirls ...