Not Fitting the Bill

25 Jan 2019

At ... some 20 years or so ago an experiment at the Gran Sosso National Laboratory in Italy led to the publication of data that cliamed it had detected a signal modulation produced by an interaction with dark matter (purportedly). Dark matter has since become a major feature of cosmology. However, as it appears to interact weakly with normal matters its presence is inferred only from gravitational effects on visible objects such as stars and galaxies. The experiment, above, claimed it had detected signals at rates that vary according to a cosine wave. It has never been confirmed by any other experiment - and recently, South Korea set about looking for some robust evidence of dark matter's existence. The results were published in December's edition of the journal Nature (2018) and once again, the results were negative.

At ... astronomers discover an unusual nuclear transient - in the medium of a weakly active galaxy. Transients can be explained by supernovae, gamma ray outbursts, or by tidal disruption events. This transient does not appear to correspond to any of these things.

At ... astronomers find star material could be building blocks of life. This is suggested by the discovery of glycolonitrile, a pre-biotic molecule, in a proto star. This follows the recent discovery of methylisocyanate in the same object by other researchers.

At ... planetary scientists still puzzle over the strange slope streaks on Mars. What might be the cause of them? Wet - or dry (liquid water or dust avalanches).

At ... could the moon have had its own moon - at one time. Planets orbit stars and moons orbit planets - but do small moons orbit larger moons? This imight aply to moons such as Titan and Iampetus, or even Callisto.

At ... the subject here is Titan's mysterious atmosphere - not fitting the bill. Titan's atmosphere is thick and dense - unlike that of most moons (and nitrogen rich).