Astronomy news

The Peculiar Motion of Sirius

Chiefio has been dipping his fingers around Sirius - is it a binary star? Go to http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/siriusly-pondering/ ... I like the bit where he says, 'the Wiki says it's moving, but then again, that's a Wiki and subject to consensus corruption where new ideas go to die, murdered by the preponderance of small minds - and the excess zeal of the smallest of them ...'. Ooh Ah, I wonder who he means.

Comet Ison, the first post

George Howard at http://cosmictusk.com/comet-ison-solar-flares-and-the-775-ad-eichler-event/ ... says he has just learnt about the discovery of Comet Ison which has been exciting astronomers over the last couple of months. Ison is as large or larger than Comet Hale-Bopp and is headed for a close encounter with the Sun - promising a dazzling display late in 2013. Howard adds, he is fascinated by the relationship between the orbit of Ison and Newton's Great Comet of 1680 (mentioned in an SIS paper a few years back).

The Maya Calendar

Having avoided the Mayan calendar doomsaying it is now worth taking a look at what it all might mean - and Bob Johnson has done just that - see www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/12/20/will-the-world-end-on-21st-december-... .... with a piece reflecting on Thoughts on the Origins of the Mayan Calendar, which is based on cycles of 260 days and 360 days, neither of which figure coincides with modern cycles of the Sun, or Venus. Does this imply these cycles differed in former years? Nice one for Lawrence to browse and make a comment.

Swarms of small galaxies

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/swarms-of-tiny-galaxies-found-burs... ... the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered lots of small galaxies that are teeming with star formation - or so the interpretation goes. These galaxies are churning out new stars so fast the consensus model is non-plussed. It seems the general view is that it took the Milky Way a thousand times longer to double its stellar population - but why should some galaxies differ from others? The best explanation seems to be that star formation is episodic.

This is a black hole

Now you know what a monster looks like.

Meanwhile, one more item on black holes that might set the cat among the pigeons - go to http://phys.org/print274445722.html

Soil, Comets, and Craters

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/nasa-announces-first-full-mars-soi... ... we learn the Curiosity Rover has taken samples and analysed some soil on Mars - see also www.nasa.gov/mars

At http://phys.org/print274000788.html ... is about Sun grazing comets, in particular, Comet Lovejoy which in December 2011 swept through the Sun's corona with it's long tail stetched out behind - and lived to tell the tale.

Mars in Flood

This is a really interesting story - and more will follow, no doubt, as research continues. How much is genuine geology and how much is speculation, or computer simulation, remains to be seen. The Curiosity Rover will eventually resolve some of the issues. The story has been around for several days and has now percolated to www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/ancient-cavern-systems-of-mars-pot... ... via some weirding of the story.

Water ice on Mercury

Is that possible? Mercury is so close to the Sun - see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-378&cid=release_2012-378  It seems Mercury has a low tilt and craters near the poles can remain in shadow year round and be extraordinarily cold.

Dud Supernovae

At http://phys.org/print272565880.html ... we learn that supercomputer simulation has revealed that dim supernovae are duds - like penny bangers that crack with a wimper instead of a thud.