Astronomy news

Has Voyager really escaped the heliosphere?

Lots of hype around over the fact Voyager 1 and 2 are on the edge of the heliosphere - but have they really escaped the influence of our Sun? Even Electric Universe have posts on the Voyager ! spacecraft leaving behind the solar wind. Just where is the boundary - and what kind of layers can be found on the edge of the solar system. Go to http://phys.org/print325338763.html

Dwarf galaxies that orbit big galaxies

At http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2014/07/dwarf-galaxies-challenge-ou... ... which stems from the discovery of dwarf galaxies surrounding the Andromeda Galaxy, orbiting it in an immense plane. Everywhere astronomers looked they saw a coherent and co-ordinated system of dwarf galaxies rotating around Andromeda. Afterwards, they looked at other galaxies and found the same thing - observable in 50 per cent of them. The very fact that dwarf galaxies are in harmony with neighbouring big galaxies seems to defy current cosmological consensus.

Solar energy, Venus waves, and thermal maps of asteroids

At http://phys.org/print324263317.html ... a NASA funded mission to study the Sun's energy output. Solar irradiance changes over the Sun's 11 year cycle and probably changes over longer periods of time as well. The launch takes place on Monday 14th July.

Spanish magic

At http://phys.org/print323592013.html ... a fly Spanish instrument, the IMaV magnetograph, has recorded how flux tubes are formed and evolve on the Sun. These are the building blocks of solar magnetism. It is a canny instrument designed to understand more about the Sun's magnetic field, the solar cycles, and sun spots.

Black Hole Fireworks

At http://phys.org/print323585559.html ... a remote galaxy has a bright light on show, which appears to emanate from a black hole at the heart of the galaxy. It is said that energetic jets blasted from the black hole of the Messier 106 galaxy are heating up gases and making them glow - and the jets are spewing out gases, as energy, with power. We seem to be moving from a position where black holes eat cosmic gases to a position where it rejects said gases and spews them out. Perhaps they don't taste so nice and munchy anymore.

Noctilucent in the News

At http://spaceweather.com of July 4th 2014 (you will have to scroll down) we have a nice image of noctilucent clouds and a short explanation. They have been particularly common across Europe in recent days, beginning on July 3rd. The northern horizon was filled with electric blue ripples, coils, and tentrils of light. These clouds are said to be caused by meteor smoke, forming at the edge of space 83km above the surface of the Earth, where sun light strikes the small icy crystals left behind by nature.

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

You'll get used to the Russian name of this comet as it approaches Mars in October. According to the European Space Agency (ESA) the comet is losing the equivalent of two tumblers of water per second - which is a lot of water vapour (go to www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta)

Slowing the Speed of Light

At http://phys.org/print322989757.html ... physicist James Fransen of the University of Maryland has a paper in New Journal of Physics in which he claims he has found evidence the speed of light as described in Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, is actually slower than thought. His argument actually rests on observations of a supernova event from 1987 - and how long it took photons to arrive. They turned up later than expected.

Space Weather

At http://spaceweather.com ... the site is updated daily and is  always worth a brief snatch of your attention. Today it has a video of sprites in the sky above Oklahoma on June 23rd. One of themis 40 miles tall and 46 miles wide - hardly a sprite in the literal meaning of the word. It was bigger than Mount Everest.

Sprites have been recorded over a long period of time but scientists did not believe they existed and ignored them until after 1989 when they were photographed from the space shuttle. Basically, sprites are upward rising lightning bolts

Titan again, and coronal rain

At http://phys.org/print322807085.html ... anomalous amounts of nitrogen detected in the atmosphere of Titan have caused some scientists to have a rethink. Does it indicate Titan's raw materials might have been locked up in ices that condensed before Saturn was formed? The study, a collaboration between NASA and ESA, says they have found 'firm' evidence nitrogen on Titan originated in conditions similar to those of comets (assumed to have an origin in the Oort Cloud on the outer rim of the solar system).