Comets, Sprites, Black Holes and Telescopes

12 Jun 2010 June 10th (see also Science Daily) ... comets may once have orbited other stars before becoming attached to our Sun according to a theory by a group of astronomers. Computer simulations were used to show the Sun capturing cosmic bodies form nearby stars - but only when it was in its 'birth star cluster' and not once the solar system was up and running. The theory is that the Sun originated from a cluster of newly hatched stars embedded in a dense cloud of gas and each star was accompanied by small leftovers = comets. Eventually, the Sun's cluster was blow away by the hottest young stars and the model then predicts the Sun gathered up a large cloud of comets as the cluster dispersed (presumably the Oort Cloud). June 11th ... there is a video of sprites and a link to other images of sprites, elves, and jets that form between thunderstorms and the upper atmosphere (and has a diagram of the process from the National Space Institute of Denmark). Elves is an abbreviation of 'emissions of light and VLF perturbations from electro-magnetic sources'. The European Space Agency has taken an interest in sprites and elves as they think large electric bursts of energy in the atmosphere may influence climate - another admission that scientists are fully aware that AGW theory is unsound and other factors are involved. Nigel Calder says, seafarers and hill walkers, or people living in high regions have noticed these high altitude flashes for centuries - probably for millennia. Yet our 'know it all' meteorologists scorned the existence of sprites until 1990 when one was caught accidentally on a low-light TV camera. He asks, so what else don't we know - or rather, what else are we ignoring? In addition, Calder mentions CTR Wilson who invented the Cloud Chamber in 1925. He predicted the creation of very energetic 'runaway' electrons by thunderstorms but it was not until 1956, at the age of 87, he actually witnessed a sprite for himself - as did airline pilots and UFO watchers. Yet, science still ignored the process. Is science realy as open minded as it claims to be? 

At June 11th ... we are back to the infant universe again and star formation in clouds of gas in deep space. As the star grows it pulls in dust and gas from the surrounding molecular cloud to form a swirling disc - now called a proto planetary disc - which then consolidates to form planets, moons, asteroids and comets, The Astrophysical Journal describes how the Keck telescope on Hawaii was used to peer into a proto planetary disc, which feeds the growing star at the centre. However, the process of acretion is not fully understood and the scientists are hoping to discover exactly how it works. Hence, although they penetrated the gas cloud and witnessed what they thought was happening, how it was happening is yet to be established.

Finally, at June 11th ... scientists have observed black holes eating matter for the first time - by gravitational microlensing. However, they appear to have been looking at a quasar, a large emission of light and heat from a small region of space. Quasars, it reads, are so extreme they push the laws of physics to a breaking point and beyond. They are the particle accelerators of the universe that shape galaxies.