Astronomy news


At ... as a result of the expanding universe, or the belief in an accelerating expansion of the universe, cosmologists have come up with a timetable for the creation of life forms and conclude it is unlikely that intelligent life could have evolved anywhere in the universe prior than the present, basically the last few billion years (source Universe Today). 

Cern CLOUD again ...

The mainstream media is either ignoring the potential of the experiment at CERN or is taking, once again, soundbites from the establishment - as if they would tell them the truth. Various critics have been dragged out of nowhere, possibly not having read the paper, and asked for their opinions. One of them claimed that clouds do not cause cooling ... because it is hot on the surface of Venus and yet there are enormous swirling clouds clogging up its atmosphere. Therefore, it seems, the Sun can't warm the earth - or something like that.

Star gas

William Thompson sent the following link,, which is Notre Dame University. It seems that two of its astrophysicists, N Lehner and C Hawk, have published a paper in Science (August 26th) that is important in our understanding of how stars are made - continuously. The same story can be seen at and at

Youthful Moon - or not so youthful

A paper in Nature August 17th - see - is suggesting the Moon is somewhat younger than previously alleged, created by a giant impact between two bodies one of which was proto-earth. The Moon then formed from melted material ejected into space. It is further alleged that analysis of lunar rocks, or sample so far retrieved, can only be dated as far back as 4.36 billion years ago. This may sound quite old but apparently it is younger than earlier estimates of the Moon's age - which were 4.5 billion years ago.

The zodiacal light, meteor streams, and dark matter - is it an illusion?

At (April 15th 2010) is a piece on the dust between planets that scatters sunlight. Its origins are in comets according to Nesvorny and Jennisken (April 20th, The Astrophysical Journal). The zodiacal dust cloud is regularly replenished.

Roaming planets ... again

At a variety of blogs, for example at , we have this story that is basically a paper that purports to explain the discovery of planets unattached to star systems, lots of them. A new theory has inevitably been devised by (experts, according to the Daily Mail reporter). They suggest such planets may have been ejected from solar systems by supernova events (the explosion of stars).

Water on Mars?

NASA News at claims they have discovered water on Mars - briny water that flows in spring but disappears in the winter. However, the images are in regions too cold for water yet some kind of volatile has been detected - hence the idea of salty water.

At we hear that NASA is reporting two active regions on the Sun, or in general terms, two sunspots have sprouted and a solar flare is being predicted.

The mirror in the universe

At (Augusts 4th) ... begins with, if dark matter exists it may take the form of mirror planets, mirror stars, and mirror galaxies (a bit of a mirage it would seem). The failure of physicists to actually find tangible evidence of dark matter has led to the idea of 'mirror matter' (basically a spatial reflection of ordinary matter).

Comet Elenin

At we learn that NASA has just rolled its STEREO solar satellite to have a look at Comet Elenin P/2010X1, a comet which has attracted a lot of hullabaloo. The comments to this story are therefore worth browsing. One link for a sober look at Elenin is 

Alfven Waves

At ... a paper in Nature on the role of oscillation in the corona of the Sun, known as Alfven waves, points out that when first observed in 2007 their amplitude did not appear great enough to drive the solar wind. New satellite observations reveal Alfven waves a 100 times stronger - enough to heat the Sun's outer atmosphere to millions of degrees and drive the solar wind. The waves are seen in high resolution images and can be viewed at

Trojan Asteroid.