Astronomy news

A Boiling Sun

This refers not to boiling something in water but to the boiling point of heat, creating bubbles. At http://spaceweather.com (May 3rd 2019) we are informed the Sun is boiling - even though there have been no sun spots for 12 days. However, the surface of the Sun is covered with convection cells and the Sun is so hot it literally boils. Bumps on the surface are called granules - which are convection cells ...

Ice on Titan

A couple of links sent in by Jovan - go to www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190429111826.htm ... and www.newscientist.com/article/2200961-titan-has-a-belt-of-ice-6300-kilome... ... Titan is coming up with all kinds of surprises - courtesy of the Cassini mission. In a new research paper in Nature Astronomy we have a massive 'circle' of ice rich bedrock that spans almost halfway around the moon of Saturn. It stretches for a length of almost 4000 miles.

Meteor from another Star

Jovan sent in this link - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/did-a-meteor-from-another-sta... ... did a meteor from another star strike the Earth's atmosphere back in 2014? Stars and planets routinely hurl smaller objects into inter stellar space as a consequence of orbital mechanics, we are told. The recent discovery of Oumuamua is a case in point - supposedly an interstellar object.

Jupiter and the Solar Wind

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7369 (April 2019) ... new observations indicate auroras on Jupiter are heating the planet's atmosphere - and that it is a rapid response to the solar wind buffeting the poles. This has big implications we might have thought as global warming on Earth may be facilitated by the same process - but not so (it is said with a straight face).

Black Hole Image

At https://astronomynow.com/2019/04/10/virtual-telescope-captures-first-dir... ... we are told that after years of observation and data analysis an international team of astronomers have capture images of a massive black hole - see below. Actually, it is the event horizon that can be seen, marking the boundary between normal space and the unknowable interior (of the black hole). The encircling ring of light is made up of photons from accelerated particles of gas and dust being pulled towards and around the event horizon. The image closely matches theory.

Cassini Latest

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news/php ... a few days ago (see also www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190328170639.htm ... and https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/cassini ...). NASAs Cassini mission has found Saturn's rings coat tiny moons - or rather, five small moons nestled in and near the rings, with material. The surface of these moons are covered with material originating from the rings.

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190327142018.htm ... rivers on Mars. Possibly until fairly recent times.

What Happened Before Big Bang

At https://phys.org/print472815059.html ... what before Big Bang is the title of this piece. The idea is to test inflation of the universe theory after Avi Loeb and others at Harvard and the Smithsonian raised concerns, saying inflation of the universe seemingly has endless adaptability that makes it impossible to test. Falsifiability is supposed to be the mark of a good scientific theory but inflation is such a flexible ideda it cannot be falsified in experiments. No matter what value people measure for some observable attribute there is always an inflation model to explain it.

Strange Behaviour

Strange in the sense that asteroids are not thought to be active - even if that activity is like a sleeping man periodically letting out a wheeze. At https://astronomynow.com/2019/03/20/asteroid-bennu-surprises-with-ejecti... ... NASAs OSIRIS Rex spacecraft, studying the asteroid Bennu by orbiting it (since last December) has sent back some interesting data. There have been a number of 'ejection events' we are told, in which rocky streams of debris can be seen spinning into space.

Galactic Chimney Works

At https://phys.org/print472115260.html ... Australian National University scientists have found that Earth is made of the same elements as the Sun but has less of the volatile elements such as hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen. Rocky planets around stars may be devolatised pieces left over after the formation of stars.

Bennu and Ultima Thule

At https://phys.org/print472149086.html ... data from the New Horizons mission is still filtering back and what has been revealed so far will be discussed at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas. Ultima Thule is regarded as a primordial object. It is 22 miles long and it has a large flat lobe connected to a smaller rounder lobe. The strange shape is the surprise. Apparently, we are told the two lobes once orbited each other but an unknown something brought them together - or that is the thinking at the moment. What caused them to join at the hip?