Astronomy news

Electrified Lunar Craters

Science Daily April 17th (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100416185151.htm ) ... as the solar wind flows over natural obstructions on the moon it may charge polar lunar craters to 100s of volts according to new NASA calculations. Polar lunar craters are an object of interest as a possible source of water for astronauts and have therefore attracted interest. The moon's orientation towards the sun keeps polar craters in permanent shade - allowing temperatures to plunge to -400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Black Holes

Daily Galaxy April 16th (www.dailygalaxy.com) ... does our universe exist in a black hole? Cosmic string theorists, it is alleged, have suggested the whole universe may exist in a black hole. In their view the pre-Big Bang universe is vast, infinite, and stretches indefinitely backwards in time. They think the universe might be destroyed on a regular basis - it's space time twisted into black holes.

Dark Matter Doubts

At www.physorg>com/print190631146 ... astrophysicists are looking everywhere for dark matter - inside the Large Hadron Collider, in deep mines, and way out in space, but evidence of dark matter cannot yet be found. It is claimed it makes up a quarter of the energy density of the universe. Current models and simulations cannot acount for the excess in positrons being observed - on the satellite experiment of PAMELA for instance.

Black Holes, Sprites, Solar Flares and Interstellar Water

At www.physorg.com/print190485260.html ... research has found natural particle accelerators can be formed by lightning storms. When intense lightning discharges in thunderstorms coincide with high energy particles (cosmic rays) coming in from space nature forms a giant particle accelerator above the clouds - stripping electrons from air molecules. He is referring to lightning discharges above thunderstorms - known as sprites (see below).

Time Dilation

At www.physorg.com/print190027752.html there is a story with the title, 'Discovery that quasars don't show time dilation mystifies astronomers' ... which sounds like a question mark against the Big Bang Theory. The phenomenon of time dilation is explained by i) the speed of light is constant, and ii) the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate which causes light from distant objects to redshft. As space expands the interval between light pulses also lengthens.

Venus in the Sky

At www.physorg.com/print189959182.html is an article to warm the cockles of old time SIS stalwarts. It has the title, 'Venus is Alive - geologically speaking' and refers to images sent back from the Venus Express spacecraft that show young lava flows on the surface of the planet. There is also a video that can be clicked on with a visual insight of the discovery - refuting some scientists who claim it is geologically inactive because the surface of the planet is too smooth.

Bill Napier paper on the YD boundary event

The Bill Napier paper pops up at http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.0744 and is provided by the Royal Astronomical Society (see earlier post and link to pdf). Basically, Bill Napier is saying the YD event was not caused by a comet impact or airburst as such but by thousands of comet fragments and debris, a signifcant difference to the model developed by Firestone and West et al.

Dark Comets

www.physorg.com/print189107151.html March 29th ... NASAs WISE satellite is finding dozens of dark asteroids and comets each day - most have not been previously detected. Within 3 months it has already found some asteroids classified as 'potentially dangerous' and between now and October, when the mission is aborted, NASA estimates WISE will discover 100,000 asteroids (yes, one hundred thousand of them) - many in the main Asteroid Belt but 100s of NEOs too.

Red Shift

Science Daily March 26th (www.sciencedaily.com id 100325091430) - Astronomers at Leiden Observatory conducted an intensive survey of 446,000 galaxies in what is known as the COSMOS survey. Hubble photographed 575 slightly overlapping views of the same part of the universe which took 1000 hours. Researchers also used redshift dta from ground based telescopes to assign distances to the galaxies (out to red shift 5) which confirms Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the idea of accelerating cosmic expansion.

Mapping Venus

At www.physorg.com/print188466638.html March 22nd ... is another incredible piece of research. The article has a computer generated image of the surface of Venus created from radar images taken during NASAs Magellan mission during the 1990s. Peter James, a graduate student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences, has shown that plate tectonics do not seem to apply on Venus - or Mars and Mercury.