Astronomy news

Black Holes do not exist, according to a mathematical calculation

This might go down like a lead balloon but a physics professor in the US, Laura Mersini-Houghton, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place -but, but, but I've seen them - a big flash of light captured via a space telescope. Does this mean scientists will now have to re-imagine the fabric of space time (quoting the article). This seems to imply they imagined black holes in the first place. See

a cold spot in the universe

At ... we have some nice images of a pock marked surface of Mars provided by ESAs spacecraft the Mars Express. These have of course been dated very long ago.

The bigger feature is interesting as on the floor there are rocky ridges (yardangs) and flat topped mesa like structures, buttes and hills. It appears as if the ground has collapsed, leaving sections still intact (hence the mesa like formations).

Planet formation

At ... the question is, how do planets form? Okay, we have the mainstream model in which the idea is that dust from the remnants of supernova acretes into discs around young stars. Such dust is thus thought, over time, to clump together in order to form pieces as big as pebbles, and over time, into even bigger and bigger pieces that eventually gell into a planet size body. However, at the point the pebbles form the consensus view is not entirely sure just how they expand into bigger objects.

Mapping Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The point of the map is to differentiate different morphological sections of the comet - hence the bright colours. This has been achieved in a few short weeks, since Rosetta arrived in the vicinity of Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The images shows areas of the comet dominated by cliffs, depressions, boulders and grooves, a surprising number of different terrains - and no sign of a dirty snowball.

alcohol in space, and other stories

At ... astronomers have detected a great cloud of alcohol in space - all to do with molecular chemistry in molecular clouds (which includes dust and various chemical compounds). Alcohol, in this instance, is a combination of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen so the reality is not that surprising. However, adding energy to the mix can result in a stimulated emission of light.

Rosetta Update

At ... ESAs Rosetta mission has found the comet is 'unusually' dark and there is no sign, as yet, of water ice. It's a lump of rock - apparently.

Solar Activity

At ... an article in the Astrophysical Journal, 2014:792 (1) 'Deciphering Solar Magnetic Activity' - and based on NASA images and data, tells us a little more about how the Sun ticks. Roughly, every 11 years, the Sun switches from a stable and fairly quiet situation into a violently active one, which is the solar maximum. At this time there are numerous sun spots and eruptions of radiation and solar particles that are ejected around the solar system.

Space Dust

At ... the space dust in question was collected by NASAs Stardust mission in 2006, microscopic particles captured from the vicinity of a comet. Some of the conclusions are interesting - if only to show they way the minds of the researchers are taking them. Three of the particles seemed to contain sulphur compounds and some astronomers believe they should not occur in interstellar space - but apparently they do. It is hoped the dust will confirm consensus views on the origin of the solar system and possibly on the origin of life.

Gravels in Space, as big as pebbles

At ... which almost sounds Velikovskyesque. The NSF Green Bank Telescope has detected pebble sized gravels amongst dust grains near the Orion Nebula. However, there is a caveat worth taking on board. The discovery was made as it was shining much more brightly than it should at the calculated distance of the cloud. Is this a case of red shift negativity? Could the molecular cloud be nearer to our solar system than estimated.

Supernova and the Bubble round the Earth

At ... it did occur to me this might be a spoof - but assuming it is genuine, we are told that 10 million years ago a cluster of supernovae went off like popcorn popping in a saucepan. The explosion blew an enormous bubble into interstellar space - and we are inside that bubble. It seems the bubble was discovered early in the 1980s by optical and radio astronomers on the lookout for interstellar gas. According to NASA, astronomers at the time were also in the process of discovering an x-ray glow coming from all directions.