Astronomy news

Cassini and the F rings of Saturn

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-111&cid=releases_2012-111 images from the Cassini spacecraft show strange half mile wide objects pushing through Saturn's F ring with glittering trails following them (composed of ice from the ring). It seems the F ring is more dynamic than previously considered - see also www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20120423.html for images and videos of the mini jets and other strange behaviour.

Can light bend? Can planets cause sun spots?

At http://phys.org/print254201605.html ... a paper in Physical Review Letters asks the question, can light bend into an arc? The answer it appears is in Maxwell's equations - equations governing electro-magnetism.

Transit of Venus - again

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus ... in order to make a little more sense of yesterday's post on what is due to come about in June, Wikipedia describes the even in transparent terms, the planet Venus crossing the Sun when Venus is between the Sun and the Earth, becoming visible against the solar disc. During the transit Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black spot crossing the face of the Sun - so what is the big deal? What is all the fuss about?

Gamma Ray Bursts, Neutrinos and CAGW - a step shift?

At http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/madrid-1995-... .. Peter Warlow's bogeyman features heavily in this post on where might the focus have shifted from proper science to political hype - when did the attraction of dosh swamp the pursuit of knowledge, one might say.

Comet demolition job?

At www.space.com/15255-comet-massacre-fomalhaut-star.html  is a bit of speculation after the observation of a young star, Fomalhaut, with at least one planet in orbit around it, that is said to be ringed by a vast cloud of dust and comets - as many as 83 trillion comets, it is calculated. They are all colliding with each other and kick up a vast dust cloud - or so it is alleged. What is really going on? Hard to tell but what astronomers have found is lots of dust in a young star system, dust that is usually blasted away.

The solar system barycentre

Tall Bloke's Talkshop 'Some Toughts about the solar system barycentre' is a subject periodically aired on this web site and has attracted some interested commenters from other blogs and other worlds - see http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/some-thoughts-about-the-solar-.... It begins by informing us that the barycentre is a taboo subject in many places, mainly because of excessive claims and obsessions, stirring up the jungle.

Blazars

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-103&cid=release_2012-103 the WISE mission has been used to spot blazars shining in the sky. Blazars are energetic and are said to be supermassive black holes actively feeding or pulling matter in and devouring it - and these occur at the heart of giant galaxies. WISE has seen 200 of them and there are thought to be thousands more of them out there in deep space. However, the energy  released by blazars is seen in the form of jets travelling at nearly the speed of light.

Geology on the Moon

At www.physorg.com/print249024405.html ... a NASA spacecraft orbiting the Moon has relayed images of what looks like recent geological activity. It appear as if the crust of the Moon is being stretched to form small valleys, or faults. The nub is that scientists say it took place less than 50 million years ago - which is not exactly recently. The consensus view appears to be that the Moon is shrinking as it is thought it is still in the process of cooling down, at its heart. . The interior is said to be hot.

Venus Aurora

Gary sent in this one - Surprise! Venus may have auroras - yet it is not supposed to have a magnetic field (see www.space.com/15171-venus-auroras-magnetic-field.html). Apparently, it may explain the mysterious flashes of light from Venus and even more interesting, it may shed light on the way comet tails work.

Sun quakes, the March weather, and solar induced climate change

At www.physorg.com/print252575011.html ... sun quakes can be produced from eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles, according to the National Academy Meeting 2012, which is apparently a revamp of a former In the News post on sun quakes - as created by CMEs.