Astronomy news

The Gemenids

At www.physorg.com/print210942979.html ... the Gemenid annual meteor showers peaks on December 13th and 14th and is quite intense. It lasts for days, is rich in fireballs, and can be seen around the world. Most meteor showers come from comets but the parent body of the Gemenids is a small rocky asteroid - with the tag, '3200 Phaethon'.

A Jupiter sized dark object lurking at the edge of the solar system ... and trillions of potential earths

These two stories come from www.dailygalaxy.com December 7th ... and one begins by claiming comet data over the last hundred years suggests there is a dark Jupiter sized object lurking at the edge of the solar sysem - and it may be hurling ice and dust chunks towards the earth. Planetary scientist John Matese thinks there is a hidden companion to the Sun in the Oort Cloud that is responsible for the trajectories of comets.

Flickering flares

At www.physorg.com/print210618120.html ... astronomers have been looking at the waxing and waning light of exploding stars and have seen patterns that aren't yet accounted for within the consensus view. The paper was published in The Astrophysical Journal and the instrument used in the study was the Solar Mass Ejection Imager in California.

Comet Hartley2

The NASA web site had a collection of images as Deep Impact approached Comet Hartley2 and locked its cameras onto the comet nuclei. At www.physorg.com/print208086038.html there is a short piece written in the lead up to the encounter between spacecraft and comet. When it was some 12 million miles from earth Comet Hartley2 NASA meteorite experts claimed debris interacted with the atmosphere of the earth as there was a shower of fireballs on November 2nd and 3rd.

Venus - new discovery

The European Space Agency (see www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM8270WXGG_index_2.html and see also www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130122-35.htm ) has discovered a high altitude layer of sulphur dioxide via the Venus Express spacecraft. Venus is blanketed in sulphuric acid clouds that block a view of the surface and this is because of volcanic activity there.

Comets

At http://cosmictusk.com there is a report, published by the Royal Society, that says that some 4 years ago green fireballs streaked across the sky over Australia which led to a succession of UFO reports. However, it is now thought they might have been meteors or ball lightning caused by electrically charged shockwaves in a similar fashion to the way aurorae is created.

Comet Hartley2

At www.physorg.com/print208174658.html ... this is more on Come Hartley2 including the revelation that jets were outgassing from the sunward side, the night side, and along the terminator - the line between the two sides.

Comet Hartley2 - flyby

A rash of sites has news on the flyby of Comet Hartley2 on thursday 4th November. Images are being studied by scientists - but some have been uploaded for public viewing. See www.jpl.nasa.gov/news for example, as the spacecraft came within 700km of the comet (see also www.nasa.gov/epoxi and http://epoxi.umd.edu )

Approaching Comet Hartley2

At www.physorg.com/print207909976.html ... the Deep Impact spacecraft has captured images of multiple jets emanating from the surface of comet Hartley2, switching on and off. The spacecraft was 5 million miles away from the comet when the images were taken and there is a small video which can be viewed simply by clicking on an arrow as a start up. Turn up the volume on your computer before doing so. Is cometary science about to change?

Mars - asteroid strike? ... gamma ray bubbles and a newly found neutrino

Mars does not have much in the way of an atmosphere - or a magnetic field. It is being suggested its protective shield was switched off half a billion years ago by an asteroid strike (see www.dailygalaxy.com November 3rd). The Mars Global Surveyor sent back data in 2009 that seemed to indicate something like that occurred - using computer simulation modelling techniques.