Astronomy news

Mars, and Titan

At http://phys.org/print296907712.html ... we've had Mars chocolate bars and claims it is made of cheese, canals on Mars and little green men, and 'Journey into Space' (not forgetting Dr Quatermass) and even Mars running riot in the solar system - but now we have accumulating evidence that life might have began on Mars.

Carbon 14 and solar activity

Not sure how important this might be but Tall Bloke thinks he is on to something - see http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/rog-tallbloke-carbon14-and-sol... ... an interesting post even if it is not unusual for Wikepedia to have it wrong. It involves C14 in the atmosphere and the record of its highs and lows - but strangely doesn't mention the plateaus and injections (as a specific feature of importance). It was provoked by a Wikipedia graph (reproduced) that is claimed to be an indicator of solar activity.

WISE is being cranked up out of retirement

At http://phys.org/print296373520.html ... which is taken from www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-257&cid=release_2013-257 ... where NASA report WISE is being taken out of mothballs and reactivated, in order to seek out Near Earth Objects. Presumably this is in response to the two recent flybys of objects that remained unseen until they came close to the Earth. Perhaps, further investigation into the Russian meteor (Chelyabinsk) has lodged some concerns that require some further probing.

Magellanic Shower

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/08/-origin-of-magellanic-ribbon-that-... ... meteor dust is not the only thing that forms streams of material in space. So too does the gas involved in the production of stars. The Hubble Space telescope has looked for the origins of a stream or ribbon of gas that stetches halfway around the Milky Way. Observations indicate it was stripped from clouds of gas millions of years ago. These are the Magellanic Clouds, two small galaxies that orbit our galaxy.

Cosmic Dust Tracks

At http://phys.org/print295252215.html .... some ten to forty tons of meteor dust enters our atmosphere every day - usually as a result of the Earth's orbit passing through the leftovers from a comet's passage. Comets, when approaching the Sun, out-gas a considerable amount of material, varying in degree from one comet to another. This leaves behind a trail that at first is dense and ribbon like, but over time disperses and becomes less of a problem.

Big Bear Observatory

At http://phys.org/print295018965.html ... the Big Bear Observatory NST telescope has discovered new features on the face of the Sun - and the link has some images to show what was seen. Photgraphs of never before seen details of solar magnetism, the piece continues, but it is unclear if this is really new stuff or some kind of press release as they are upgrading the telescope and probably recycling old news. Anyone interested in what happens on the Sun will be interested in having a look.

Walter Cruttenden

'The Lost Star of Myth and Time' by Walter Cruttenden, St Lynn's Press, Pittsburgh:2006 ... is based on the idea there is a binary system that links the orbit of Sirius with that of our Sun. Since the space age kicked in, and powerful telescopes began to scan the universe, it has been realised up to 80 per cent of observable stars form one of a binary pair (or one of a more complicated system involving more than two stars). Hence, the idea we live in a binary system is not of itself controversial - or shouldn't be.

Comets, their Graveyards, and the Russian meteor and pals.

At http://phys.org/print294651259.html ... a comet graveyard is in effect, the Asteroid Belt - although comets are not necessarily out like a snuffed light for keeps, some of them at least appear to be dormant. This is where the so called Lazarus comets come into the equation - dead comets raising hints of life by brief bursts of activity, the subject of a recent paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

They're still talking about the Russian meteor

Mainstream media and NASA have gone quiet but over at http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/andrew-cooper-were-the-recent-... ... comments are still coming in 5 months after the posting was uploaded and it concerns the possibility a near earth flyby of an asteroid or dark comet may have had a number of smaller companions, one of these being the Russian meteor that exploded above Chelyabinsk.

March of the Centaurs

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-234&cid=release_2013-234 ... concerns Centaurs, small celestial bodies that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune - what are they? A new study derived from WISE mission images has concluded most of them are comets - if not all.