Astronomy news

solar cycles

At ... by Madhulika Guhathakurta and Tony Phillips (published in Space Weather, May 2013) and concerns the 11 year solar cycle (which was discovered 150 years ago). It seems, according to the authors, many people, including a goodly proportion of scientists, have a simplistic view of the solar cycle. It has a maximum (usually the mid point of the 11 years) and a minimum (the early stages and the later stages) - but this hides the fact the Sun is highly active all the time - not just at maximum.


At .... Tim Cullen has sparked interest in this offering as his article (see the link) has been reproduced elsewhere on the blogosphere - such as at ... I can just about remember the furore surrounding Lovejoy as it approached the Sun and the consternation as it failed to live up to what was expected.


At .... and ... Roger Tall Bloke and guests (such as Old Brew) have been discussing, over the years, the link up between the planets of the solar system and the movement of the Sun around its barycentre. As such, they have received little encouragement from elsewhere on the blogosphere and the drawbridge has been pulled up at the castle gates of consensus science.

filaments on the Sun

  at ... we have an image of giant filaments on the face of the Sun. Filaments are said to be cooler clouds of solar material suspended above the Sun's surface by powerful magnetic forces. Filaments can float for days without altering a great deal. They can erupt, releasing material that then rains back down on the surface of the Sun - or is blasted into space.

filamentary structures

  The Orion molecular cloud  see It seems observations from the Herschel space observatory has revealed our galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures on every length scale. They vary in size and some of them are gigantic, stretching hundreds of light years across the Milky Way's spiral arms.

Dawn and Ceres

                                 at ... NASAs Dawn spacecraft has beamed back a new image of the surface of Ceres, the so called dwarf planet - otherwise an over sized asteroid.

black hole jets dodgems

At ...

  in a NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a far away galaxy an extra-galactic jet of ejected plasma is seen to emerge from what is described as a black hole - at the centre of the galaxy. A sequence of Hubble images of knots running along the jets over a 20 year period of observation show the central knot catching up with the one in front and the jolt caused the first to then accelerate.

noctilucent echoes

At ... the start of the noctilucent cloud season - see below for the view above Scotland

  Earth orbiting satellites have been photographing the electric blue clouds for days. Last night, the 26th May, sky watchers on Earth could see them. This picture was taken from Ayrshire.  It shows the noctilucent clouds above dark storm clouds passing over Scotland.

super douper solar flares

At .... at what is called the Space Weather Workshop which took place in Boulder, Colorado, sponsored by NOAA and NASA, there was a presentation on the possibility of super solar flares - one thousand times more energetic than anything seen in the last 100 years.

The Ripper

At ... NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory is thought to have witnessed a white dwarf star rip apart a planet which came too close. The piece claims gravity was to blame. A white dwarf is a failing star which has shrunk (or that is the thinking) - and though smaller and more dense it can pack a stiff punch. Hence, the pull of its gravity is strong.

Chandra also looked at a black hole and apparently the x-rays emitted came not from the hole itself (or the region attributed to a hole) but somewhat to the side.