Astronomy news

waking up and bursting forth

This story is at ... in June 2015 a huge burst of energy erupted across the electro-magnetic spectrum of a binary system in a far corner of the visible universe. The last outburst from this region of the sky was back in 1989. Has the black hole been asleep and is it waking up and demanding its breakfast?

a Mars a day ...

At ... and see also .... we learn that NASAs MAVEN mission has provided researchers with the data to tell us what caused the planet to transit from a warm and wet environment to a cold and dry one. No surprises then when they conclude it is the solar wind that did it, the deed that is, stripping away the Martian atmosphere.

Taurids amid auroral flow November 7th ... I've captured the image but not the video (the burst of light) so go to the link for that. You will also find a nice image of a Taurid meteor moving through the atmosphere with a backdrop of an aurora as a result of a CME that glanced across the northern hemisphere a day earlier than expected. The CME was moving very fast. Don't forget to look up at the sky around midnight - all the fireworks should have finished by then.

Taurid meteors ... November 5th - earth is currently passing through a stream of gravelly debris from Comet Encke, source of the Taurid meteor shower. Meteorites the size of pebbles, and larger, are disintegrating as they hit the atmosphere. The picture above was taken in Czechoslovakia by Martin Popek.


A few days ago we had Ibex carved on stone at Sirwah in Yemen (animals) but today we have the NASA mission IBEX. At ... this news from NASA goes back to May 2012 and concerns the IBEX mission. Information is being updated all the time. For instance, the problems of Voyager One as it negotiates a way of the heliosphere.

Comet Encke

A paper in the October 13th issue of the Astrophysical Journal used data from NASAs STEREO observatory to look at gusts of the solar wind interacting with the tail of Comet Encke, a short period comet, in order to study its visible variations and very high temperatures. We know that CME events can overload the atmosphere of the Earth with lots of temporary heat so I suppose the thinking here is that it is the heat of the solar wind gusts that causes the comet to react and sublimate.

sun spots rising

At November 1st (2015) we have a monster sun spot looming. It has quadrupled in size since it first appeared on October 29th. The photo is by Phillippe Tosi from a back garden observatory in Nimes in France. The sun spot has a dozen dark cores some of which are as large as the Earth. This is why they can be seen in telescopes of enthusiasts - they stand out on the golden surface.


At ... astrophysicists at the University of Toronto are saying that after a close encounter with Jupiter another, an unknown and unnamed planet was ejected from our solar system after a bumping session. How to eject a planet is interesting as Jupiter has moons and Voyager 1 is struggling to escape from the helio-sheaf. The astrophysicists appear confident it can be achieved as a result of a close encounter causing one of the bodies to accelerate to such an extent which allows it to break free of the gravitational pull of the Sun.

774/5 and 993/4AD

At .... the fear of solar storms wrecking communication systems is troubling space scientists and almost every week the subject appears in articles and news flashes - or so it would seem. Probably my imagination but it is often broached by the journos on both ends of university press releases. A study in Nature Communications is saying they can be far bigger than previously imagined - and therefore destructive.

the heliopause

At ... what is happening with Voyager 1? A paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters, Oct 28th 2015, claims to know the secret that has puzzled astronomers as it was thought by now the spacecraft would have broken through the helio-sheaf, or protective bubble, of our Sun and should be flying like an arrow into space beyond our solar system - but this has not happened. Voyager 1 appears to be caught up in a snare of magnetism at the boundaries of the solar system, still chugging through a clogged up region.