Astronomy news

The Lithium Star

At ... an image from the La Silla Observatory in the Andes (Chile) has picked out a globular star cluster, Menier 4, with an unusual star that the hyped press release claims has 'eternal youth' - an odd thing to say as they have only been looking at it for a short while. It is thought such star clusters go back to the very beginnings of the universe and the eternal youth appears to have a connection with its brightness. This is thought to have something to do with lithium.

Dark Matter ... has it been nobbled

At ... the ESA satellite Planck, which changes direction every hour as well as rotating once a minute on its axis, may have found dark matter - it is alleged. They've found something and it is described as an unusual form of radiation, originating from electrons and positrons circulating at high energies around the lines of the magnetic field in the heart of the Milky Way.

Supermassive Black Holes

More speculation on black holes - see ... these were, it says, formed shortly after the Big Bang according to a research group from the University of Zurich, as a result of the collision of galaxies billions of years ago. The research was done by theoretical physicists using computer simulation modelling.

Sugar in Space

At ... sugar molecules have been discovered in the gas surrounding a binary star system 400 light years from the Earth, according to Danish astronomers. It seems that molecules of glycolaldehyde, described as a simple sugar, have been found in space before but this is the first time they have been seen moving around a star in the kind of formation that may lead to planets. Glycolaldehyde is a 2 carbon sugar that can react with 3 carbon sugar to produce ribose which forms the backbone structure of DNA - hence, life.

Black Holes Galore

At ... we learn that the WISE mission, which ended last year, discovered what they say are millions of black holes. Millions of them, as in lots and lots. They also discovered lots of hotDOGs (cloud obscured galaxies).

Light Bulb in the Sun

At ... there is a video of a coronal mass ejection on the Sun captured as it bursts forth in the shape of a giant incandescent light bulb.

A Big Wimper

We had the Big Bang - now we have the Big Wimper - see

The very round shape of the Sun

At ... we have a post on the shape of the Sun, and its roundness. . The Sun rotates every 28 days and therefore, it is claimed, it should be slightly flattened - but it's virtually a perfect sphere. This suggests, they say, that subsurfaces forces such as solar magnetism, or turbulence (or possibly even electricity?) may be a more powerful influence than than expected. The paper is published in Science Express - whilst everyhthing else about the Sun appears to vary, such as the sun spot cycle, the shaped does not.

Electric Sun

A marvellous forum debate going on at ... lots of ideas floating around

The Sun

At ... where there is an image of a huge solar filament across the face of the Sun (early August) that is estimated to be 800,000 km  long.

At ... it is thought solar flares will increase into 2013 as the current solar cycle reaches maximum.