Astronomy news

Big Bang breakthrough breaks up

At http://phys.org/print322472069.html ... a team of astrophysicists who proclaimed a month or so back they had made a breakthrough in  confirmation of the Big Bang hypothesis have had to backtrack somewhat. It seems that they might have been premature in rushing to the PR microphone. In fact, they may not have witnessed cosmic inflation at all - or gravitational waves (via BICEP2).

Water and the Sun

At http://phys.org/print322235628.html ... an ESA Herschel image of the Helix Nebula has found some interesting molecules - the OH+ molecular ion which is a requirement for water. They say the molecule exists in the burning embers of dying sun-like stars. The molecule is a positively charged combination of single oxygen and hydrogen atoms - existing in former sun like bodies.

The Herschel telescope has traced water in various parts of the universe - in star forming clouds and now in dying stars. Even in the asteroid belt within our solar system.

Summer sun halo

At www.spaceweather.com on Monday 16th June (2014)  a summer sun halo.

   If you want to know when earth facing sun spots are despatching CMEs towards our planet keep an eye on this very useful web site.

A problem with dwarf galaxies

At http://phys.org/print321643387.html ... we are told the cosmologists may have certain astronomical ideas wrong - and they require adjusting. In other words, the whole kaboosh is not up the creek - just one of the paddles that is treading water. According to the consensus theory material stripped from galaxies during a collision with another smaller galaxy forms a long tail of debris. However, the reality of dwarf galaxies at the edge of the Milky Way and Andromeda appear to contradict the way theory dictates what takes place.

Colliding Planets

I think I might have done this story before - but due to another published paper. At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/05/when-worlds-collide-study-says-our... ... we learn that a new bout of measurements of oxygen isotopes provides what is claimed to be evidence that the Moon was formed after a collision between the Earth and another, large, planet sized body. The theory is this occurred 4.5 billion years ago - Science journal (6th June, 2014) (see also http://phys.org/print321195253.html).

Canyons on Mars

At www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2647295/Water-didnt-carve-Mars-c... ... basically, a group of scientists are saying water did not carve out the canyons on Mars. This idea is in fact relatively recent and we suppose a rump of scientists have not been persuaded and prefer to point a finger at lava flow. There are in fact quite a few volcanoes on Mars - but are they capable of cutting canyons bigger than Earth's Grand Canyon?

Big Earth

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-171 (see also www.nasa.gov/kepler and http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/). A rocky planet weiging 17 times as much as the Earth but just over twice the size is the latest anomaly to cause some surprise to the consensus satisfied set. Know as Kepler 10c, we are told such a world should not exist - even, could not possibly exist (until it loomed out of the telescope). The thinking went - the gravitational force of such a massive body would accrete a gas envelope during formation and baloon the planet into a gas gaint similar to Neptune or Jupiter.

Blackest Worms Yet

At http://phys.org/print320658152.html ... two Chinese researchers have suggested black holes might not be all they are cracked up to be. They may in fact be burrows leading to an alternative universe, a feature known as Worm Holes - but is it as whacky as black holes? The paper is available to view at the preprint server arXiv and was prompted by the discovery of a bright source of radio waves emanating from the centre of our galaxy.

Tides on the Moon

At http://joannenova.com.au/2014/05/earth-creates-tides-in-the-rock-of-the-... ... we are all used to the Moon creating tides in the seas and oceans on Earth, but in the opposite direction, it has been found that the Earth creates a tide, of sorts, in the rock that makes up the Moon. The gravitational pull of the Earth creates a slightly egg shaped Moon - but only slightly, we might add as the tidal bulge is just 15 inches high. Never the less, it is there and has been measured by scientists, and what is more the bulge is able to move.

Solar eruption caught on video

At http://phys.org/news/2014-05-nasa-iris-gigantic-eruption-solar.html ... the NASA IRIS instrument with the mission of observing the surface of the Sun has managed to catch a CME in the act of erupting - and the video at this sight illustrates the sheer power and might of the event. Recommended viewing. It was all down to careful manipulation and calculation by the NASA team in charge of IRIS - and they deserve the plaudits.