Astronomy news

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.

Big Bang, read Theory

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2014/05/the-universe-is-not-expanding-an-a... ... we have all been inculcated with the idea the universe began with a big bang event, an act of creation. This kind of pristine origin myth is a preferred explanation in various scientific disciplines. It provides the universe with a start date and a start mechanism (which can be argued about) and means that science is able to control and manage.

All Seeing WISE

At http://phys.org/print319999018.html ... NASAs 'Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer' (WISE mission) has been looking at black holes - and they don't seem to conform to consensus theory (the bit processed for consumption by the general public). Back in the 1970s, when astronomers came to an agreement on black holes (or the setting up of a control knob) , they claimed all black holes are surrounded by a dusty area, a doughnut shped structure thereafter known as a torus. It is the position of the torus that is supposed to affect 'earthlings' view of black holes.

Crater on Mars

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-162 ... a fresh meteor crater has been studied by NASA and some conclusions have been reached. It first appeared in March 2012 and the crater appears to have been preceded by an explosion in the Martian sky caused by friction between the space object and the atmosphere of Mars. It was captured by MARCI, telescopic cameras on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (see http://go.usa.gov/8KgJ) which began a systematic observation of Mars in 2006.

Galaxy formation

A web site that might fire up some people - go to www.illustris-project.org

The shrinking of the red spot on Jupiter

This has been going on for some time but exactly why the shrinkage should become of concern to mainstream media at this point is possibly due to some PR over publication on the subject - go to http://phys.org/print319380202.html (among other news sources). Lots of chatter about the red spot and speculation on what might be happening - but no sign of it giving birth to anything of note (even a cosmic object). The red spot has declined from 41,000km in size to 16,000km over the last 40 years - and that is shrinkage on a big scale.