Astronomy news

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.

A Blobby

The EU response to the glowing blob. See

Then we their response to a crash between two clusters - see

Falling Particles

At ... cosmic dust particles on  their entry into the atmosphere save themselves from disintegration by creating a bubble of protection. Cosmic dust originates in comets and asteroids, in the former debris trails left behind by the passage of comets for example. There is a lot of it out there as comets regularly break up as they round the sun and earth's orbit crosses such debris trails fairly commonly.

Glowing Blob

At ... which begs the question - does Pluto have the ingredients of life? This is a far cry from the situation prior to the New Horizons mission when Pluto was regarded as a distant and cold cosmic object that was dead. Since the flyby last year scientists are now having second thoughts - even though Pluto's atmosphere is thin and sparse.

Imaging a Black Hole

At ... scientists, we are told, are in the process of making an image of a black hole. It seems a black hole cannot be photographed (which is why only simulations of black holes have been produced to date). In the hypothetical black hole scenario light cannot reflect or escape. One might argue that has been convenient for the continued faith in the existence of black holes. Light cannot escape the grasp of a black hole and therefore there is no light to see - a perfect storm if you like.

Ceres organics

NASAs Dawn space mission has found evidence for organic material on asteroid (or dud comet) Ceres - see ... the material was detected near a crater and the study is in this month's Science journal (February 2017). Carbonates and clays have also been discovered. The organic material is part of the stuff of life - but apparently not evidence of life on Ceres.

video of black hole

At ... a spectacular star cluster reveals elusive black holes hiding inside a dense cluster of stars. Watch the video of the black hole in its hidey hole - or the flash of energy that is thought to be a black hole. They can even provide an estimated date for the star cluster - 12 billion years old. One option if link does not work is to go to and then scroll down to the story, spectacular star cluster etc.


At ... a binary star system has been identified as an elusive white dwarf pulsar ... the first of its kind seen by astronomers.

At ... a bridge of stars connects two dwarf galaxies together in the Magellan Cloud system.

Saturn's Rings

At ... Saturn's rings contain millions of moonlets - or should that say pieces of debris. Yes, the news flash does say millions of moonlets - who are we to argue. It seems the rings themselves are made up of ice, dust, and rocks (from tiny specks to the size of a house). Gaps in the material are known to astronomers as 'propellers' and these are created, it is thought, by moonlets. They are the bigger debris, from the size of double decker bus to a kilometre across.

Frenzied eating habit

The black hole feeding frenzy theory is back, hot on the press at ... and not only that the feeding frenzy is breaking records. This meal has been going on for nearly ten years - and the x-rays have yet to dim. It is imagined a black hole has trapped a massive star into its gaping mouth and is busy munching away. The star is so big it is taking a decade to shred it and consume it. It sounds a bit like one of those gob stopper's that you kept sucking as it gradually got smaller and didn't fill up the whole of your mouth.