Astronomy news

Water on the Moon

www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-07/uota-urd072010.php this story, sent in by Garry Gilligan, is all about water on the moon - and how new research is turning what scientists thought they knew on its head. The moon was supposed to be bone dry but researchers found 'lunar dew' and not it has been discovered that water itself is more widespread - on the outside and on the inside of the moon. A comparison has been made with water in volcanic systems on earth.

What is the Sun made of?

http://dcoda.amplify.on/2010/07/17/scientists-cant-agree-on-what-the-sun-is-made-of/ is an interesting web site details supplied by Gary Gilligan. Behind its blazing facade the sun is reluctant to give up its secrets. Over the last few years scientists have changed their ideas concerning the chemical make-up of the Sun. There is far less oxygen, carbon and nitrogen that previously theorised and sound waves travel through its interior and ring like a bell.

Supernovae - version three

www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/07/mistery-supernova-may-point-to-unknown-laws-of-physics/ July 16th ... Casey Kazan has been upsetting the readers at Daily Galaxy newsletter once again. He, or she, is being accused of tabloid headlines, and maybe they are right - but it draws the punters. Robotic telescopes have turned astronomers attentions towards exploding stars that seem to indicate unusual physics are taking place.

Asteroids and near earth objects

At http://cosmictusk.com George Howard has placed a New Scientist video of a flight across the Tunguska impact site in Siberia, with some close-ups of Lake Cheko which he thinks resembles a Carolina Bay.

Planetary Tails

National Geographic July 15th http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100715-alien-planet-comet-like-tail/ is a story about a planet orbiting so close to a star that its atmosphere is being blasted away, forming a gaseous comet-like tail - according to astronomers in the Astrophysical Journal of July 10th.

black hole, cold thunderstorm

At www.physorg.com/print198173823.html researchers have discovered a black hole emitting powerful jets of particles that spew forth some 1000 light years. Black holes are usually associated with X-rays rather than jets of particles (see Nature July 8th).

Gravity and the Big Bang

At www.physorg.com/print198135631.html July 12th ... a paper in Physical Review Letters might cause a stir as it says the theory of gravity as proposed by Arthur Eddington may require a review. Eddington was on an island off the coast of West Africa where he witnessed a solar eclipse and noticed the Sun's gravity bends starlight, an observation he thought which substantiated Einstein's 'general relativity'. Somewhat later, he appears to have had misgivings, and suggested it might mean something quite different.

Juno

NASA spacecraft Juno (see www.jpl.nova.gov/news July 12th ... is being assembled in Denver - and a unique protective shield is being added around its electronics. The magnetic field of Jupiter, and an intense barrage of cosmic radiation, is extremely powerful, and this is thought to have something to do with its faster speed of rotation.

keeping a track on what the Sun is doing ....

www.physorg.com/print197125900.html ... Proba-2 is a small member of ESAs fleet of satellites but it is full of experimental technology. It has returned 90,000 images of the surface of the Sun in the last 8 months. It is capable of following coronal mass ejections as they leave the solar surface - although these are currently in short supply. In addition, a piece of Czech technology is able to measure the plasma environment around the satellite.

exploding stars

www.physorg.com/print1997132957.html June 30th ... supernovae are stellar explosions that can be seen across the entire universe. Type 1a supernovae are used by researchers to observe the acceleration of the universe. It has long been known they exhibit considerable variation in their spectra - but the reasons why this is so have been unknown, or certainly so, until now. Scientists at the Niels Bohr Institute think they have the answer.