Astronomy news

Wandering Stars

At https://phys.org/print453630339.html ... Aboriginal tradition describes the complex motion of the planets, the wandering stars of the sky. This may sould a bit like Robert Temple and his 'Sirius Mystery' but no - this is serious science (projected out of Aboriginal myth). The Greeks called the planets 'anteres planetai' (wandering stars) as they wander across the sky relative to the fixed stars. Now we have some new research that says Aboriginals had a much earlier tradition of the moving planets.

Oort Clouds

At https://phys.o9rg/print453635544.html ... Oort clouds around other stars should be visible in the cosmic microwave background. For decades astronomers have theorised beyond the edge of the solar system there lies a massive cloud of icy planetisimals known as the Oort Cloud. This cloud, it is thought, is where long term comets originate - but to date no evidence has been provided to confirm its existence. One reason is that the Oort Cloud is difficult to observe - far away from the Sun and dispersed over a large area.

Stellar Fly By

This one caught my attention as it is reminiscent of the recent talk by Rupert Holms (see home page of web site). At https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2018/08/18/stealing-from-the-solar-syste... ... which has the addititional benefit of a few comments.  Could a rogue star passing our solar system disturb the outer ranks beyond Neptune. Oldbrew comments, 'Why does the Kuiper Belt suddenly end? The Kuiper Belt is a huge region of the solar system forming a ring around the Sun just beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Quiet Sunday

At https://phys.org/print452857190.html ... on a quiet Sunday two astronomers in Australia came across a supermassive black hole. It is so big it can chomp up a mass equivalent to our Sun every two days. They found a bright point in the sky, later defined as a high redshift quasar. How they got from that to the hungry monster is not clear from the press release but we may visualise a certain amount of assumption. 

Space Weather

Space weather is the term used to describe interactions of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetosphere. Nothing to do with climate. At https://phys.org/print453099984.html ... NASA have launched twin satellites to study the Van Allen belts - and the way the solar wind is deflected by earth's magnetosphere. Later, the programme will be expanded to cover all the effects - it is hoped. Meanwhile, the Japanese already have a satellite, launched in 2016, exploring the Van Allen belts.

Perseids

At http://spaceweather.com (August 6th, 2018) the annual Perseid meteor shower is under way. Each year the Earth passes through a stream of debris left behind by the passage of Comet Swift Tuttle. At its peak up to 100 meteors an hour are expected.

Comet Flop

At http://spaceweather.com (August 4th, 2018) Comet PanSTARRS was supposed to become a naked eye object in August as it swooped past Mercury - but its not going to happen. Instead, the comet is thought to be close to disintegration. All of the flambuoyant activity took place in July - and August is turning out to be a damp squib (once again). Is the Electric Universe comet model not living up to expectations?

Meanwhile, at https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/stirling-engine-test-sets-lon... ... according to the Wiki a stirling engine is a

Eta Carinae

Sent in by William - bizarre rogue planet discovered wandering in our galaxy - see https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/08/04/bizarre-rogue-planet-discovered-w... ... a rogue planet without a star roaming the Milky Way just 20 light years away. A study published in the Astrophysical Journal claims it has an incredibly powerful magnetic field 4 million times more powerful than the magnetic field of the Earth. Further, it is able to generate powerful auroras - without the necessity of a sun to send forth plasma plumes.

Black Holes a Bit Stringy

Like a runner bean left on the vine too long black holes are getting a bit stringy - go to https://phys.org/print451826969.html ... black holes are really balls of string - or is it fluff. Black holes are NOT surrounded by a burning ring of fire after all, we are told, but are much more complex. Samir Mathur in the Journal of High Energy Physics invokes Stephen Hawkins and String Theory. What we might take from this is that the preferred version of black hole dynamics is a bit shaky - even in the eyes of fellow theorists.

Water on Mars

Much ado in the media - water on Mars. However, when you dig into the story the water is a mile deep and unavailable for astronauts to exploit. At https://phys.org/print451740783.html ... an underground lake on Mars, hiding beneath a layer of ice (and even worse, a mile under the surface). The lake is 12 miles wide - and life may exist (bacterial). The water may also be full of salts and minerals making it unfit for drinking purposes.