Astronomy news

Venus atmosphere and rotation

Sent in by Gary. At .... researchers used computer simulation to model the atmosphere of Venus. A Japanese satellite, Akatsuki, witnessed a bow shaped cloud structure on Venus and their model says it can be explained by atmospheric waves forming over a mountainous region of the planet. Fast flowing winds interact with gases in the vicinity of the mountains in order to produce the cloud formation.

Frozen Lightning

At (June 20th 2018) we have frozen lightning spotted over Scotland (the island of Lewis to be exact). These are noctilucent clouds - ethereal bands that have the appearance of frozen lightning.

Moon and Water

Another story that won't go away - the moon and water. At ... Japanese scientists have found the mineral mogonite in a lunar meteorite found in the Sahara. Mogonite requires water to form and reinforces the belief water exists on the moon ...


Organic molecules found on Mars

This story comes from NASA but is pretty widespread on the blogs - see for example .... Curiosity Rover found organic material on Mars when digging into the surface. This may indicate Mars once harboured life - or some kind of primitive life. There is also varying amounts of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. The news release came from MIT

Flares on Brown Dwarf

At ... astronomers have spotted two super flares issuing forth from a brown dwarf star. The discovery is detailed in a paper published on May 26th on the arXiv pre-print server. The flares had a duration of around two days and heightened by a factor of 48.

At ... layerd deposits have been found at the south pole of Mars. The poles of Mars have ice caps - like the Earth. They are also composed mainly of water ice, deposited in layers that contain varying amounts of dust.

Origin of Pluto

Also sent in by Jovan. Busy man. At ... what is the origin of Pluto? Is it a planet - or something else. It is being suggested Pluto is a great comet - of sorts. They say it is an agglomeration of a billion comets (in other words an inestimable number of comets). Another idea is that Pluto formed from coldices with a chemical composition similar to the Sun (but the giant comet theory is gaining traction it is alleged).

Near Miss

At ... close stellar encounters. An analysis of our stellar neighbourhood is said to reveal more stellar traffic then recognised - stars that sideswipe our solar system. That potentially hurl hailstorms of comets inward and showering our planet with debris. Not just worlds in collision but stars and solar systems in collision.

Computer Modelling Hungry Black Holes

At ... modelling works well when applied to for example, geology (rates of erosion etc) but how reliable is it when applied to the theoretical concepts such as black holes? We are informed that a star that approaches too close to a black hole will be torn apart and gobbled up in a violent cataclysm known as a tidal disruption event. It produces a bright flare of radiation - picked up in space telescopes. A study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters presents a theoretical perspective on this theory - using modelling techniques.

Flares on an inactive Sun

This is a cracker NASA images of massive flares unleashed by the Sun. There is currently a lack of sunspots but the Sun is highly active at the moment - via coronal holes. Go to ... and we are told that while the Sun can influence atsmospheric activities and the climate on Earth only certain wavelengths of radiation are able to make it to the surface to actually heat it up.

Valles Marineris

Valles Marineris on Mars (see image below sent in by Michael) is 2500 miles long yet it is claimed it was carved out by water - but appears to be a straight line, or nearly so, along a good deal of its length. The Grand Canyon on Earth has a river running through it - but the canyon is 10 miles wide and the river flows which way it wants, back and forth. Electric Universe enthusiasts think both have an electric origin rather than water flow.