Astronomy news

NEO fly by

A Near Earth Object passed close to the Earth on Monday morning. It was the size of a ten story building but it wasn't noticed until the Saturday. It was travelling nearly ten miles a second and came within half the distance of the moon - which is pretty close (a few moments from the kind of close encounter of the noisy kind one hopes can be avoided). It also crosses the path of Venus as it orbits around the sun. Another 33 close approaches of rocks in space are expected during the course of 2017. See http://finance.yahoo.com/news/asteroid-just-flew-earth-two-172000181.html

something going on

At www.astronomy.com/news/2016/11/large-ice-sheet-discovered-on-mars?/ ... which appears to be a large area of ice and rocks and very deep.

Watery Comet

At http://phys.org/print401090506.html ... the Rosetta spacecraft was landed on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September and effectively brought the mission to an end. We didn't hear a lot of what was revealed as it approached the surface at the time as Rosetta's onboard instruments were still working. The EPA scientists have been looking at some of the information beamed back ...

Ice on Ceres

At http://phys.org/print401043545.html ... it seems the large asteroid Ceres has some evidence of ice. NASAs Dawn mission sent back images of a dark cratered rocky environment with some bright spots caused by reflective salts - but no ice on the surface. The search then was turned on the craters - could they be hiding ice? Out of many that were peered into (dark and difficult to view) some ten of them display evidence of a bright material in the depths.

To Find Life

The quest of NASA is to find water on Mars - and therefore to find evidence of life. Curiosity Rover has been analysing the ground as it travels across the face of Mars, discovering clay and minerals in the  process, and boron. On earth boron is associated with ground water.

Jupiter and space rocks

At http://phys.org/print400491395.html ... clues about the timing of Jupiter's formation. New research suggests the presence of Jupiter near the asteroid belt may account for a peculiar class of meteorites that offer scientists clues on how the planet Jupiter took shape and wandered through the solar system. Of course all this happened a very long time ago - and Jupiter may have migrated from an orbit much closer to the Sun. See also www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4019168/Mysterious-meteorite-rev...

Bulging Core

Saturn has a bulging core we are told at http://phys.org/print400347557.html ... did you know that? It seems the Cassini mission has thrown up this odd situation - a bulging core. What is going on?However, don't get too excited as the thrust of the piece is the age of its moons, once thought to go back to the day of mainstream Creation, 4.5 billion years ago. It is now suggested the moons of Saturn are younger - younger than (but sill extremely old)

Pluto's Ocean

Some more info has been published about Plut0 - and Charon (see http://phys.org/print399842130.html ). Is there life in the sub surface ocean on Pluto? Is it rich in ammonium? Ammonia was detected as a compound on the moon Charon - and a smaller moon of Pluto. Of course, the composition of Pluto's ocean is still an unknown and only speculation exists (even though some people are convinced they know what is going on).

Mesospheric Bore

At http://spaceweather.com (December 1st 2016) we have a 'mesospheric bore' - strange goings on in the mesosphere. This is a layer of the atmosphere above the stratosphere. It is the realm of sprites and noctolucent clouds - and air-glow. As early as November 17th NASAs AIM spacecraft spotted noctolucent clouds as seen in the atmosphere above Australia.

Flipping the Poles of Mars

On page 11 of Astronomy magazine (see www.astronomy.com) there is a story gleaned from an article in Nature (March) that modelled the emergence of the Tharsis Ridge, a violently volcanic region of Mars. It is hyptheisized that the emergence of this volcanic zone caused the planet Mars to flip over. See the section Astro News.