Astronomy news

Black Holes and Dark Energy and Sand on Mars

It might have been the coldest June weekend for over 80 years in Stockholm, see but at a giant black hole is being kicked out of its galaxy - the Chandra X-ray Observatory tells no lies (or does it?) Astronomers claim to have found strong evidence that a massive black hole is being ejected from its host galaxy - at a speed of several million mph.

An extraordinary solar flare

At ... a spike in C14 levels indicates a massive cosmic event of some kind - in AD774/5. The atmospheric level of C14 must have jumped significantly - but apparently, supernovae and solar flares have been ruled out. The C14 isotope is formed when highly energetic radiation from outer space hits atoms in the atmosphere producing neutrons. These collide with nitrogen 14 which then decays to C14.

Dust from Space

Two thought provoking posts at Tall Bloke's Talk Shop - see and These are at the cusp of science and climate research. In the first post Tall Bloke says scientists at Leeds University, where he works, are investigating how dust particles in the solar system interact with the Earth's atmosphere.

Venus Transit

As we approach June 6th the Venus Transit is getting attention - see for example and the NASA web page at and we can expect lots of pictures next week. It seems it was Pythagoras who worked out that the Evening and the Morning Star were one and the same and not two difference objects in the sky - or that is the orthodox view.

The May 17th solar flare

At a neutron detector at the University of Oulu in Finland captured solar particles originating from a solar flare on May 17th - travelling at very near the speed of light and arriving just 20 minutes after the light emitted from the flare. The particles collided with atoms in Earth's atmosphere and caused a shower to cascade down towards the surface - generating a ground level enhancement (GLE).

Bethlehem ... and Dark Matter

An odd mixture for a single post but Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a clay bulla or seal with the name of Bethlehem which indicates the town existed as early as the 7th century BC ... and probably, earlier.  See

A faint and ashen light on Venus

At ... 'The Mystery of Venus' ashen light' - it seems May is the right time of the year to see the faint glow of ashen light on an unlit portion of Venus during its crescent phase - and nobody knows what causes it. It was first spotted in 1643 by an Italian astronomer, Riccioli, and mentioned subsequently by Herschel, and more recently by Patrick Moore. Others have failed to see it and they went on to assume there has been observer errors, an illusion, or equipment malfunction.

Further responses to Svensmark's paper

At Tall Bloke's Talk Shop, .. is a post by Tim Channon and begins by going through the basics of the paper, Earth bombarded with radiation from stellar event as the solar system travels through the Milky Way - and this is linked to paleo history etc.

Dark Matter - is it there or is it not there?

The invisible ingredient of the universe is taking a pounding this week. At ... German astronomers have discovered vast structures of satellite galaxies and clusters of stars surrounding the Milky Way, as if there had been some kind of collision between galaxies some time in the past and pieces of one of them had attached themselves to the orbit of our galaxy.