Astronomy news


We haven't heard much lately about the Japanese Hayabasa probe which had the mission to rendevous with asteroid Itokawa back in 2005. It studied various factors of the asteroid and collected samples duly brought back to Earth. The smaples consist of very small grains, microscopic in size, but a lot has been hypthesized from them. It seems they have different patterns on the surface which have been divided into different causes or reasons for their presence. Crystallisation by extreme heat, evidence of impact shatter, and exposure to the solar wind.

sodium carbonate

At ... we learn that recent hyperthermal activity may explain the bright spots on the asteroid Ceres. This is interesting in as much as it might not weigh against Ceres being an inactive comet (or a former comet but now an asteroid). Having the ability to outgas is a feature of comets - but there the resemblance may end as thermal activity seems to have produced sodium carbonate (the white stuff that the spot is made from).

Expanding Pluto

We have an expanding universe, the possibility of an expanding earth, and expanding planets in deep space - and now we have the possibility that Pluto is expanding. That sounds a bit crazy as it is not all that big - but scientists have noticed signs of stress on Pluto's surface that might mean there is internal pressure cracking the crust as a result of expansion. At ...

Measuring a black hole

The black hole concerned in this instance is at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, our very own. At ... we are told that at the heart of the Milky Way there is a supermassive black hole - which is quiet. However, it is faint - probably because it is not accreting material, unlike some way out in the universe which have been captured on modern telescopes. It is also faint, we are told, because it is shrouded in dust and clouds of gas.

sugary meteorites

Sugars in meteorites - go to ... a paper published in PNAS (June 2016) has been looking at carbonaceous meteorites - so called chemical time capsules. It is assumed they formed at the beginning of the universe (following Big Bang). Researchers from NASA have analysed sugar acids and sugar alcahols in meteorites. The paper describes the research and its conclusions

Expanding Planet

A real life expanding planet has been found - who says an expanding earth is out of the question? Go to ... Expanding planets have been known about by astronomers for nearly 20 years (but nobody seems to have told the geologists). What causes them to expand is a mystery. The planet in question appears to be a giant gas type similar, shall we say, to Jupiter. Can gas giants expand but rocky ones not so?

Black Hole jets

At ... a paper in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Oxford University Press, June 2016) concerns a simulation of the powerful jets ejected by supermassive black holes at the centre of large galaxies. Some 10 per cent of galaxies (assumed to have black holes) have jets of gas spouting in the opposite direction from the core. Hot ionised gas (plasma) is propelled outwards 'by the twisting magnetic fields of the rotating black hole.' You may note that streams of plasma coming from the Sun are produced within the Sun, a star.

Stellar Explosion

  In the June 2016 issue of Scientific American Daniel Kasen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has focused on developing new theoretical and computer models to explain the various types of supernovae.

feeding a hole

At last, a black hole  observed feeding - apparently. That is the headline at ... which is presumably derived from the press release. For the first time astronomers have detected clouds of 'cold'gas streaming towards a black hole at the centre of a galaxy (as mainstream theory portrays). However, we may also note the cloud of gas is still 150 light years away from the lip of the said black hole - and it is only assumed the cloud of gas will be consumed by the black hole (as that is what the mainstream theory insists).

dark gravity, phantom energy

At ... galaxies are moving away faster than expected. This is what we learnt a week ago. The question is - what is driving the expansion? Dark matter is one possibility, or dark energy, dark radiation and dark gravity. Apparently, we have dark speculation. No observation is perfect and therefore it is likely that miscalculation lies at the heart of the mystery.