Astronomy news

Comet Outbursts

Sent in by William - ... NASAs exoplanet hunting mission has caught images of a comet outburst in unprecedented detail - an explosive emission of dust, ices, and gases. It caught on camera Comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. The write-up was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on November 22nd 2019. The outburst itself occurred on September 26th 2018 when an estimated million kilograms of material was ejected from the comet.

Stars Slinging Comets

Another mainstream theory ruptured it would seem. At ... stars and comets as dance partners, linked into a gravitational celestial interaction that was predicted by Oort many moons ago. Polish astronomers have captured images of two nearby passing stars that seem to pluck up comets and then swing them into an orbit around our star, the Sun (entering our solar system). Astronomers think the Oort Cloud is out there on the edge of the solar system (or just beyond it).

Shining Apparition

At ... it is interesting to see how the idea Comet 21/Borisov is an interstellar intruder has become a mainstream mantra - without any really firm evidence apart from the fact it is travelling very fast and its trajectory. Never the less, going with the flow, the comet has now started to shine brightly - just like a comet. Its tail is extending behind it to around 100,000 miles, or 160,000 km in EU speak. The comet head itself is estimated at around one mile across.

Red Spot False Alarm

At ... reports of the demise of Jupiter's Great Red Spot are greatly exaggerated we are told. It seems visible clouds hide the true size and nature of the vortex and it is not shrinking as alleged earlier this year.

Life on Mars

At ... it seems insect might have lived on Mars. Are they the vermin of Velikovsky? An Ohio University professor says we already have evidence of life on Mars. He specialises in arbovirology and medical entymology said he spent a lot of time looking at photographs beamed back from Mars. He claims to have found insects in those photographs. He presented his findings to a meeting of the Entomological Society of America in St Louis (November 2019) and said, there has been and still is life on Mars.

Adding Up

Interesting link at ... which concerns the different measurements of the expansion of the universe that have been a feature of angst amongst cosmologists. The subject has featured in the News on several occasions. WattsUpWithThat has the benefits of lots of comments - some of them erudite and intuitive, and others quite the opposite. It seems a hundred scientists met at the University of California to try and clarify what is happening with the divergent data.

Star Dust

At ... in a story related to ... scientists find radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust sample taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, a story that goes back several years and seems to have initiated the later interpretation.

Transit of Mercury

William sent in the link ...which may or may not work for you. If not go to and key down to 12th November 2019 which has a video which is crystal clear (probably the same one)_. The best view of the transit comes from NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory (22,000 miles above the surface of the earth).

None the less, backyard astronomers were also able to make an image - see for example ....

Oxygen on Mars

This link was sent in by Gary - ... NASA scientists are said to be baffled after a portable chemistry lab on the Curiosity Rover (sampling the air) detected fluctuations in oxygen levels on Mars. The oxygen levels vary from one season to the next (over a 3 year period) and scientists now think that it is not the atmosphere of Mars that is fluctuating, as such, but somewhere in the vicinity there is an oxygen sink (or oxygen is leaking on to the surface). If so it is currently an unknown source of oxygen.

Expanding the Universe

Scientists are expanding the universe it would seem - via state of the art technology and technique. See ... what we have is another measurement of the Hubble Constant - recently made uncertain by several studies that have come up with different rates of expansion. The concept of an expanding universe was put forward by Edwin Hubble in the early 20th century. He found that galaxies were moving away from each other - so the story goes.