Astronomy news

Mars and Trojans

At https://phys.org/print410429403.html ... sent in by William, an unusual story concerning the orbit of Mars and some mini planets (known as Trojans). These are really asteroids and they all share a common ancestry we are told in what had once been a single body. In other words they are the remains of a mini planet - rather than a succession of mini planets in themselves. Their origin is millions, if not billions, of years ago - we are also told. The reason they have been targeted as all belonging to a single cosmic object is their make -up, displaying heavy signs of olivine.

Cosmic Explosion

A mystery cosmic explosion has been picked up by NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory - see https://phys.org/print410095783.html ... the cause is thought to be a destructive event - but it's all guesswork at the moment.

Jovan sent in the link http://www.astronomy.com/news/2017/03/rethinking-the-habitable-zone ... with proof of liquid water in the farthest reaches of the solar system it's clear the habitable zone isn't the only place where life might exist. A whole range of possibilities has opened up.

Warm Weather

At www.spaceweather.com March 30th 2017 ... we are told the stream of solar wind, a CME event, has continued into a 4th day and we may note the weather has got considerably warmer over that time. I got sun burnt today (on the face) working on the allotment - yet it is still March (and it was decidedly cold a week ago). It seems the CME has pumped a lot of heat and energy into the earth system. A similar thing happened in March a couple of years ago - following another coronal hole directly facing the earth.

Wrong Way Orbit

At https://phys.org/print410012455.html ... an asteroid orbiting the 'wrong way' around the Sun has been risking a collision it would seem, but somehow they always miss each other (or that is what we are being told as the asteroid has just got to be millions of years of age). The asteroid has a retrograde orbit around the sun and shares its orbital space with Jupiter - a rather large object to repeatedly miss. It emerges that Halley's Comet also has a retrograde orbit. Is does this imply it is a chip off the old block?

Potent Coronal Hole

At www.spaceweather.com (March 25th) we are told a potent coronal hole is facing the earth and sending out a stream of solar wind that will arrive on March 25th and last for a few days. We may not have had many sun spots recently, a veritable dearth of them in fact, but coronal holes are something different. It is spewing out a flowing stream towards our neck of the woods, as seen by NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provided photographs of the event horizon. How will it effect Earth's climate system?

Space Dust

At https://phys.org/print409322936.html ... astronomers have developed a way to detect the ultra violet background of the universe. In so doing they hope to discover the missing small galaxies they think should be out there. It will also aid in the quest of mapping the universe - by modelling processes. It is quite clear UV radiation (from stars and black holes) excites the gas of the universe causing it to emit red light in a similar fashion to gas in a fluorescent tube (which is excited by visbible light). Measuring and mapping of UV radiation will refine models of galaxy formation.

Comet 67P

It seems Comet Churyumov Gerasimenko (or Comet 67P in shorthand), the target of the ESA Rosetta Mission that dominated the astronomy news in 2015 is still fascinating scientists (now producing their write ups from the data). One outburst of dust involved a landslide on the comet. When it rounded the Sun in 2015 cliffs collapsed and ripple like features about 100m across appeared and disappeared, dust eroded and boulders rolled around on the surface. The mainstream view is that this occurred as a result of increased sunlight and warmth (affecting ices under the surface).

Andromeda

Upsetting Einstein's 'theory of gravity' is the headline at www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2017/03/andromeda-once-flew-past-our-milky... ... This follows research at the University of St Andrews (and elsewhere in Europe as it was a joint effort) which found a ring of small galaxies moving away from our galaxy at a faster rate than expected. They are expanding so rapidly it has been labelled a mini version of Big Bang.

Black Hole Choking

More on the feeding habits of black holes. This one is choking on the amount of material in its gullet - see https://phys.org/print408783134.html ... The paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters but the press release comes from MIT. What was recorded was a 'tidal disruption flare' (see earlier post on the subject) which is basically a dramatic burst of electromagnetic energy. This is thought to occur when a black hole shreds and digests a passing star.

Rogue World

At www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4312926/Mysterious-space-object-... ... straight from the horses teeth, the source that Wikipedia refuses to accept as reliable. As they don't accept SIS as a serious society we have more than a little sympathy for the Mail. Their science stories come straight from science papers and university press releases, but that is not what the Wiki gestapo object to. It was a couple of articles by David Rose that fingered the CAGW cheats and claimed there was dodgy goings on.