Astronomy news

Saturn's Radiation Belts

The radiation belts of Saturn and the Earth are both affected by the solar wind. Belts of energetic particles move around the planets at high velocities - captured by the respective magnetic fields. On Earth the solar wind controls the intensity of the radiation belt - directly and indirectly. On Saturn it differs. The moons of Saturn play a role.

Black Holes in the News

NASAs NuSTARR probes black hole jet mystery is the headline at JPL NASA News - see ...Black holes famously eat lots of material. They are described as ravenous by astrophysicists and the news outlets. However, it seems they cannot consume everything - for a simple reason which appears to contradict the idea they consume anything. Material is required as energy in order to shoot out powerful jets of hot gas (plasma).

Velikovsky and Comets

At ... seems like another one on the atomic comet - which begins with Velikovsky (and Venus ejected from Jupiter as a comet). It passed near the Earth but no collision (in spite of the title, Worlds in Collision) - which caught out a few of its critics napping, at the time and even long afterwards, showing up who read the book or did not read the book.

Electrifying Phobus

At ... electricity in space is now out into the mainstream open as indicated in this post. Solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobus to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics used by future robotic exploreres (NASA report). Phobus has been considered a possible base for human exploration on Mars because of its weak gravity that makes it easier to land spacecraft - but there are problems. Eruptions on the Sun that drive streams of solar wind.

Moon Atmosphere

Still running with the Moon, subject wise, we ... (link sent in by Jovan) where we are told that for 70 million years the Moon had an atmosphere formed by gases as a by-product of volcanic activity.

Sea of Sand

Another interesting article by Tim Cullen in the Atomic Comet series - go to .. the Sea of Showers is a vast lava plain on the Moon. It sits within the Imbrium Basin, one of the larger craters. Molten lava produced within the crater has formed a relatively smooth surface ...

Gold in 'them thar twinkles'

The BBC news teams were full of it on Monday (the 16th October) and on Five Live on Tuesday morning they got excited all over again. Newspapers were also in on the hype but the story in the Mail was buried a few pages back from Front Page in your face position. What got their knickers in a twist? Gold. Yes, the very mention of shed loads of gold appears to have got the media luvvies hyper ventillating at a crazy angle.

Sand on Mars

The origin of sand on earth has intrigued Gary Gilligan for a number of years. He sent in the link ... but see also ... an image from NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows one place where sand grains are potentially being produced on Mars - right now. Note the word potential - scientists are looking for the source of sand dunes on Mars and for the moment have tuned their sights on this depression ...

New Theory, Sun

At ... a new theory on why the Sun's corona is hotter than its surface. This was the subject of Bob Johnson's talk at the speaker meeting last weekend (the video will be up on the web site in a couple of weeks time). The research is published in Nature Astronomy and is derived from data sent back by the FOXSI-2 sounding rocket./ Why is the Sun's atmosphere much hotter than its surface? They suggest super heated plasma via nano flares.

Note ... the FOXSE-2 is a sounding rocket with seven telescopes designed to study the Sun.


This one is going to get better - may be. The K2 comet (otherwise PANSTARRS comet) is currently beyond the orbit of Saturn but is heading towards the Sun. Even at that distance the comet has developed an 80,000 mile wide fuzzy cloud of dust (a coma) containing frozen gases. Se ...