Astronomy news

Rosetta getting bashed

At ... the Rosetta saga continues - it has now experienced significant buffeting and difficulties over controls as Rosetta swoops low across comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, so much so that such close encounters may have to be curtailed in the future. It encountered a dense outflow of gases and dust particles that temporary caused scientists on earth to lose control of the spaceship.

See also the mission web site - and the link

dreaming of the big wave on Mars

At .... as it has been repeated now on many occasions the assumption is growing strength in the idea that Mars once harboured an ocean - suitably way back in the early universe. Once you come to accept there was once plentiful supply of water on the red planet, and a big ocean, you can conjure up almost anything - especially if you create a model.

lava tubes on the moon

Another interesting post from .... no, not a reference to cities already on the moon, hiding in cavities and lava tubes, but the prospect of earthlings colonising the moon and finding somewhere safe to set up camp. Speculation is that theoretically lava tubes could exist on the moon over half a mile in width, big enough to harbour a lunar colony. They are pictured as offering a refuge from cosmic radiation, meteors, and temperature fluctuations. Sounds quite reasonable when you digest the whole story.

Tails of the Moon

At its-friends-might-too.html .... member Gary Gilligan sent in this piece he spotted at New Scientist this week. The Moon has got two tails. One is a tail of sodium gas that streams behind the Moon as she moves. The other is a tail of dust particles. Both stretch for hundreds of thousands of kilometres in the wake of the Moon.

Gary, of course, has his own views on the tails - visit

lakes on Mars and warm layers on Venus

At ... the search for water continues. We now have former lakes in craters - and two episodes of water related activity on Mars.

At ... scientists say they have found a warm layer in the atmosphere of Venus - and they are talking about 20 to 40 degrees warmer than expected. This is not to be sniffed at as CAGW alarmists on Earth are thinking just 2 degrees is apocalyptic.

black holes blowing out a storm

A study published in the journal Nature shows observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the heart of a huge galaxy can power huge molecular outflows. They are actually emitting, they claim, massive quantities of star making gases - see

Jupiter's aurorae differs

At ... flows of electrically charged ions and electrons accelerate along Jupiter's magnetic field lines (fountain like blue curves) ... see below

  ... which trigger aurorae. The accelerated particles come from clouds of material spewed out of volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io. As such, there is a continuous auroral glow on Jupiter thousands of times brighter than anything caused by the solar wind on Earth.

ancient asteroid clout

At ... a cosmic object created a 400km wide impact zone in Australia's Warburton Basin. Apparently, the crater had disappeared - but geophysicists have rediscovered it. Dr Andrew Glikson, a well known contributor to the Benny Peiser CcNET email thread some years ago (now preserved at Bob Kobres web site), said the impact zoane was found during drilling operations as part of geothermal research. It was a double whammy, an asteroid that had split into two pieces prior to impact.


At ... molecular nitrogen has been detected on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by instruments onboard the Rosetta spacecraft

Molecular nitrogen is thought to have been the most common type of nitrogen in the early solar system. It also dominates the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan and is present elsewhere.

At ... apparently the probe which landed on the comet has been inactive now for four months.

nano flares

The image below shows x-rays streaming off the Sun as seen by NASAs NuSTAR telescope array system. Se ...