Astronomy news

Swarms of small galaxies

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/swarms-of-tiny-galaxies-found-burs... ... the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered lots of small galaxies that are teeming with star formation - or so the interpretation goes. These galaxies are churning out new stars so fast the consensus model is non-plussed. It seems the general view is that it took the Milky Way a thousand times longer to double its stellar population - but why should some galaxies differ from others? The best explanation seems to be that star formation is episodic.

This is a black hole

Now you know what a monster looks like.

Meanwhile, one more item on black holes that might set the cat among the pigeons - go to http://phys.org/print274445722.html

Soil, Comets, and Craters

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/nasa-announces-first-full-mars-soi... ... we learn the Curiosity Rover has taken samples and analysed some soil on Mars - see also www.nasa.gov/mars

At http://phys.org/print274000788.html ... is about Sun grazing comets, in particular, Comet Lovejoy which in December 2011 swept through the Sun's corona with it's long tail stetched out behind - and lived to tell the tale.

Mars in Flood

This is a really interesting story - and more will follow, no doubt, as research continues. How much is genuine geology and how much is speculation, or computer simulation, remains to be seen. The Curiosity Rover will eventually resolve some of the issues. The story has been around for several days and has now percolated to www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/ancient-cavern-systems-of-mars-pot... ... via some weirding of the story.

Water ice on Mercury

Is that possible? Mercury is so close to the Sun - see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-378&cid=release_2012-378  It seems Mercury has a low tilt and craters near the poles can remain in shadow year round and be extraordinarily cold.

Dud Supernovae

At http://phys.org/print272565880.html ... we learn that supercomputer simulation has revealed that dim supernovae are duds - like penny bangers that crack with a wimper instead of a thud.

Solar activity over a number of years

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/11/solar-activity-past-present-future/ ... is a post by Dr Leif Svalgaard, solar scientist and presumably an establishment figure but one that has taken part in the climate science debate over a number of years. The article is potentially important but has not been universally received with relish. A head of steam has in recent years got heavily puffed up over the possibility we are on the verge of a cooling episode - the opposite of global warming.

Energetic Dark Energy

At http://phys.org/print271939550.html ... dark energy remains hypothetical, used to explain the expanding universe, and other anomalies of the universe. Scientists are divided. Is it static or is it energetic? It seems dark energy may have some dynamism after all, according to a paper in Physical Research Letters by a group of Chinese, UK and Canadian researchers.

Tilting Earth

At http://phys.org/print271928022.html ... what would happen if the Earth's axis suddenly tilted? Geological records, apparently, record large shifts in tilt on several occasions throughout the history of the planet - affecting climate and sea levels. This sounds almost as if it came from the pages of SIS but no, it is from researchers at Harvard. Yes, Harvard - and Caltech.