Astronomy news

Machinations of Black Holes

A good start is provided at ... which begins - what causes energetic emissions from galactic cores? This is the essence of the black hole hypothesis as a supermassive anomaly at the centre of our galaxy is apparently, in the modelling process, tearing stars apart and flinging their remains into space at speeds of 10,000km a second. Shredded stars then condense into planet sized objects etc.

Microbial Clouds Venus

Gary sent this one in - go to ... a story that comes from the Astrobiology magazine and raises the question of life on Venus. Apparently, a joint team of US and Russian scientists are working on a new mission to Venus and one of the aims is to seek out evidence of microbial life in the atmosphere of that planet. This is prompted by the occurrence of dark streaks in the dense clouds that spoil the view of the surface - and the surface is pretty inhospitable to life it is thought but what about the atmosphere?

atmospheric rivers

At ... we have a story that has been around the blogosphere all week - with lots of mirth aimed at the California governor and his self proclaimed CAGW inspired drought of epic proportions. However, this link is not about climate change and political shenanigins but about flooding events that dwarf what has occurred in California this week. These apparently have struck the region on and off for centuries - as far as geological evidence is concerned.

Super Bubble

At ... Japanese scientists have modelled the innards of the Earth and claim that silica exists as 5 per cent of the core. Whilst some 85 per cent of the core is reckoned to be iron and 10 per cent nickel the inclusion of silica is an interesting deduction/

NEO fly by

A Near Earth Object passed close to the Earth on Monday morning. It was the size of a ten story building but it wasn't noticed until the Saturday. It was travelling nearly ten miles a second and came within half the distance of the moon - which is pretty close (a few moments from the kind of close encounter of the noisy kind one hopes can be avoided). It also crosses the path of Venus as it orbits around the sun. Another 33 close approaches of rocks in space are expected during the course of 2017. See

something going on

At ... which appears to be a large area of ice and rocks and very deep.

Watery Comet

At ... the Rosetta spacecraft was landed on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September and effectively brought the mission to an end. We didn't hear a lot of what was revealed as it approached the surface at the time as Rosetta's onboard instruments were still working. The EPA scientists have been looking at some of the information beamed back ...

Ice on Ceres

At ... it seems the large asteroid Ceres has some evidence of ice. NASAs Dawn mission sent back images of a dark cratered rocky environment with some bright spots caused by reflective salts - but no ice on the surface. The search then was turned on the craters - could they be hiding ice? Out of many that were peered into (dark and difficult to view) some ten of them display evidence of a bright material in the depths.

To Find Life

The quest of NASA is to find water on Mars - and therefore to find evidence of life. Curiosity Rover has been analysing the ground as it travels across the face of Mars, discovering clay and minerals in the  process, and boron. On earth boron is associated with ground water.

Jupiter and space rocks

At ... clues about the timing of Jupiter's formation. New research suggests the presence of Jupiter near the asteroid belt may account for a peculiar class of meteorites that offer scientists clues on how the planet Jupiter took shape and wandered through the solar system. Of course all this happened a very long time ago - and Jupiter may have migrated from an orbit much closer to the Sun. See also