Astronomy news

Space Dust

At ... astronomers have developed a way to detect the ultra violet background of the universe. In so doing they hope to discover the missing small galaxies they think should be out there. It will also aid in the quest of mapping the universe - by modelling processes. It is quite clear UV radiation (from stars and black holes) excites the gas of the universe causing it to emit red light in a similar fashion to gas in a fluorescent tube (which is excited by visbible light). Measuring and mapping of UV radiation will refine models of galaxy formation.

Comet 67P

It seems Comet Churyumov Gerasimenko (or Comet 67P in shorthand), the target of the ESA Rosetta Mission that dominated the astronomy news in 2015 is still fascinating scientists (now producing their write ups from the data). One outburst of dust involved a landslide on the comet. When it rounded the Sun in 2015 cliffs collapsed and ripple like features about 100m across appeared and disappeared, dust eroded and boulders rolled around on the surface. The mainstream view is that this occurred as a result of increased sunlight and warmth (affecting ices under the surface).


Upsetting Einstein's 'theory of gravity' is the headline at ... This follows research at the University of St Andrews (and elsewhere in Europe as it was a joint effort) which found a ring of small galaxies moving away from our galaxy at a faster rate than expected. They are expanding so rapidly it has been labelled a mini version of Big Bang.

Black Hole Choking

More on the feeding habits of black holes. This one is choking on the amount of material in its gullet - see ... The paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters but the press release comes from MIT. What was recorded was a 'tidal disruption flare' (see earlier post on the subject) which is basically a dramatic burst of electromagnetic energy. This is thought to occur when a black hole shreds and digests a passing star.

Rogue World

At ... straight from the horses teeth, the source that Wikipedia refuses to accept as reliable. As they don't accept SIS as a serious society we have more than a little sympathy for the Mail. Their science stories come straight from science papers and university press releases, but that is not what the Wiki gestapo object to. It was a couple of articles by David Rose that fingered the CAGW cheats and claimed there was dodgy goings on.

Black Hole Modelling

The latest piece of modelling a black hole is said to show a black hole can grow rapidly at the centre of a host galaxy if a nearby galaxy emits enough radiation to switch off its capacity to form stars. See ... the collapse of the galaxy and the formation of a million solar mass black hole toakes100,000 years - a mere blip in cosmic time. A few hundred million years later it will have grown into a billion solar mass supermassive black hole.

Tidal Disruption Events

At ... are impact craters laid down at random or is there a pattern. Do they occur periodically? This study suggests it is random.

At ... warped meteor showers mean that meteors can hit the earth's atmosphere at all angles. Such showers can also last for weeks, or months. The study is published in Planetary and Space Review (2017). It is thought the orbital effect of Jupiter is responsible for warping. See below.

Black Hole Burp

At ... black holes feed on large discs of gas we are told but sometimes black holes eat too much of the stuff. They are then induced to burp out a burst of ultra fast wind (something like getting rid of the gripe in a baby) - which they call outflow. The study is published in Nature (March 2nd 2017) but the press release was issued by the University of Maryland. What the paper is about it the observation by scientists of an outflow event they think is emitted from a black hole.

Sun, volcanoes, and earthquakes

Interesting discussion going on at ... which was prompted by recent volcanoes on Hawaii and at Etna in Sicily, among other things. See also ... where some 35 volcanoes are said to be erupting right now or have recently done so, and dozens of others are stirring. See the comments at Tall Bloke as they are interesting. See also ...

Moon, Plates, Cracks

At (sent in by Jovan Kesic) ... references various studies such as a Nature Geoscience article'When and How Did the Moon Form?'. It seems that no one idea ticks all the boxes according to Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope. We have one huge collision and an opposite theory of multiple small impacts - but worlds in collision is the theme of both.