Supernovae and Amino Acids

A peculiar story is this one, and it was suitably published in Astrobiology as 'Supernovae and the Chirality of the amino acids' (but see but probably the peculiarity is due to the latter rather than the former. It appears to be an attempt to explain left handed amino acids and the virtual exclusion of right handed ones.


The Guardian August 17th (or view online at a huge Roman town has been unearthed near Le Mans, and attention is being made to the temples that existed there. This was Vindunum, occupied between the first and third centuries AD.

Venus ... in the eye of a Japanese spacecraft

There are two stories on Venus today and both are well worth keeping an eye out for updates.

NGC 4696

At we have, 'NGC 4696: A Cosmic Question Mark'. It's all about a strange galaxy that curls around at one end like a great question mark in outer space, on the edge of the field of vision of the Hubble Advanced Camera. It is the biggest galaxy in the Centaurian cluster and is at the moment a bit of a mystery.

Pyramids and small robotic explorers

At August 16th there is news of a robot developed at Leeds University which is designed to penetrate deeper into the Great Pyramid at Giza than ever before - known as the Djedi Project. No doubt it will be big news if anything is found, but there are a lot of ifs involved in what is a nice bit of technology. The robot will explore a shaft otherwise found inaccessible by previous robotic attempts and the hope is that a hidden chamber will be found. However, there are a few problems to overcome before such a prize.

Parts of South America may once have been under the sea - as recently as 10,000 years ago?

Parts of South America may once have been below sea level, as recently as 10,000 years ago. There is a possibility of course that it may have been below sea level in the early Holocene as we have noted previously that there is evidence of uplift, or readjustment of the ocean's geoid, as recently as 8000 and 5000 years ago.

Solar Cycle - How is it doing?

At August 16th is a post gleaned from Ria Novosti the Russian news agency, which reported there were five clusters of sunspots on the Sun, leading some scientists to think the lull was over and the Sun was coming back to life. However, recent sunspots have been fairly weak affairs - and this week the Sun has returned to being inactive. So what is going on?

Neolithic House in Yorkshire

The Independent August 11th ... archaeologoists have found a house dating back 11,000 years ago, at Star Carr in North Yorkshire, constructed by Mesolithic hunter gatherers. It is circular in design with 18 post holes, indicating a well built permanent structure. The site itself appears to have been used, at least partly so, for religious - or ritual activity. This is the sort of umbrella term to describe non-domestic human activity.

Novas emitting huge gamma ray bursts

At August 14th ... gamma rays were thought only to come from supernovae but amateur astronomers in Japan have changed that view. They imaged a change in brightness of a small star in the constellation of Cygnus, ten times brighter than it had been a couple of days before, and reported the discovery of a nova event, a short lived brightening of an otherwise inconspicuous star. Novas are thought to occur when a white dwarf in a binary system erupts in an enormous thermo-nucleur explosion.

No One Has Ever Been Here - where? August 13th ... George Howard has a couple of pictures of craters on the Gilf Kahir plateau in the Egyptian Sahara, near the border with Libya. Norbert Brugge, a German geologist, said 'no one has ever been here!' What he means is that no geologist or anyone with a camera has visited the site, and George laughs, it 'only reinforces my belief that people (scientists as well as the general public) overestimate what we know and vastly discount what we do not'.