Astronomy news

The Sun Close Up

An article in the journal Nature - see ... and ... see also ... concerns the highly energetic particles that are hurled from the Sun. They are, apparently, more varied and active than previously considered by solar scientists.

Bennu Mission Oddities

At ... shortly after NASAs OSIRIS REx spacecraft arrived at Bennu it was discovered the asteroid was active - dislodging particles into space. After studying images beamed back over several weeks scientists wrote a paper for the journal Science (of December 6th 2019). The discharges occurred from different points on the asteroid. Sample collection on Bennu is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020 - delivered to earth in the autumn.

Planetary Wave

At  (5th December 2019) we have details of a planetary wave supercharging noctilucent clouds in the southern hemisphere. NASAs AIM spacecraft detected the phenomena and took images (see below). Planetary waves are huge ripples of temperature and pressure that flow in the atmosphere in response to coriolis forces. In this instance the planetary wave is boosting noctilucent clouds over Antarctica, causing them to spin out to latitudes where they are not normally seen. In this instance, over New Zealand.

Comet Outbursts

Sent in by William - ... NASAs exoplanet hunting mission has caught images of a comet outburst in unprecedented detail - an explosive emission of dust, ices, and gases. It caught on camera Comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. The write-up was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on November 22nd 2019. The outburst itself occurred on September 26th 2018 when an estimated million kilograms of material was ejected from the comet.

Stars Slinging Comets

Another mainstream theory ruptured it would seem. At ... stars and comets as dance partners, linked into a gravitational celestial interaction that was predicted by Oort many moons ago. Polish astronomers have captured images of two nearby passing stars that seem to pluck up comets and then swing them into an orbit around our star, the Sun (entering our solar system). Astronomers think the Oort Cloud is out there on the edge of the solar system (or just beyond it).

Shining Apparition

At ... it is interesting to see how the idea Comet 21/Borisov is an interstellar intruder has become a mainstream mantra - without any really firm evidence apart from the fact it is travelling very fast and its trajectory. Never the less, going with the flow, the comet has now started to shine brightly - just like a comet. Its tail is extending behind it to around 100,000 miles, or 160,000 km in EU speak. The comet head itself is estimated at around one mile across.

Red Spot False Alarm

At ... reports of the demise of Jupiter's Great Red Spot are greatly exaggerated we are told. It seems visible clouds hide the true size and nature of the vortex and it is not shrinking as alleged earlier this year.

Life on Mars

At ... it seems insect might have lived on Mars. Are they the vermin of Velikovsky? An Ohio University professor says we already have evidence of life on Mars. He specialises in arbovirology and medical entymology said he spent a lot of time looking at photographs beamed back from Mars. He claims to have found insects in those photographs. He presented his findings to a meeting of the Entomological Society of America in St Louis (November 2019) and said, there has been and still is life on Mars.

Adding Up

Interesting link at ... which concerns the different measurements of the expansion of the universe that have been a feature of angst amongst cosmologists. The subject has featured in the News on several occasions. WattsUpWithThat has the benefits of lots of comments - some of them erudite and intuitive, and others quite the opposite. It seems a hundred scientists met at the University of California to try and clarify what is happening with the divergent data.

Star Dust

At ... in a story related to ... scientists find radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust sample taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, a story that goes back several years and seems to have initiated the later interpretation.