Astronomy news

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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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.


At ... we have the IRIS mission's first look at the Sun's interface region. This is a very exciting mission which will provide science with lots of information on how the Sun may really work -  observational rather than theoretical. First images show a multitude of thin, fibre like, structures. There is a constrast in density and temperature at the Interface and spots that rapidly brighten - and just as rapidly, dim. This is thought to be due to how energy is transported and aborbed at the Interface region of the Sun

Martian Meteorites

An interesting story at ... which is open to some conjecture - I think (bnut may be not). A paper in Nature tells us about a Martian meteorite in Ottawa that has been dated much more recently than previously allowed. Although the meteorite itself was made of older material, crystals growing on the rock prior to its launch from Mars (before ending up on Earth) were growing just 20 million years ago - which is extremely recent in geological terms.

Titan and ISON

At ... there is some nice information on Titan, a moon of Saturn, and puzzles associated with it liquid constituents.

Wet on Mars

The fascination with finding water on Mars is continuing apace at a fair rate of knots. At ... Mike Lamb of Caltech and co-author of a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research thinks they have evidence that the northern lowlands of Mars is a dried up ocean sea bed (covering a third of the planet).

Radio wave emissions

An article in Science concerns mysterious burst of radio waves from billions of light years away - which has caused some speculation (see

The Atmosphere of Venus

At ... it seems Venus sometimes has the appearance of a comet rather than a planet according to a European Space Agency source. Part of the upper atmosphere of Venus, namely the ionosphere, behaves oddly on different occasions, as it is buffeted by the solar wind (issuing from the Sun). One side of Venus ionosphere, facing away from the Sun, can billow outward like the tail of a comet while the other side, facing the Sun, remains tight. The discovery was made by ESAs Venus Express spacecraft in 2010.