Astronomy news

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.

Solar activity over a number of years

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/11/solar-activity-past-present-future/ ... is a post by Dr Leif Svalgaard, solar scientist and presumably an establishment figure but one that has taken part in the climate science debate over a number of years. The article is potentially important but has not been universally received with relish. A head of steam has in recent years got heavily puffed up over the possibility we are on the verge of a cooling episode - the opposite of global warming.

Energetic Dark Energy

At http://phys.org/print271939550.html ... dark energy remains hypothetical, used to explain the expanding universe, and other anomalies of the universe. Scientists are divided. Is it static or is it energetic? It seems dark energy may have some dynamism after all, according to a paper in Physical Research Letters by a group of Chinese, UK and Canadian researchers.

Tilting Earth

At http://phys.org/print271928022.html ... what would happen if the Earth's axis suddenly tilted? Geological records, apparently, record large shifts in tilt on several occasions throughout the history of the planet - affecting climate and sea levels. This sounds almost as if it came from the pages of SIS but no, it is from researchers at Harvard. Yes, Harvard - and Caltech.

Swallowing the Stars

At http://phys.org/print271445295.html ... according to Big Bang theory and a computer simulation of the evolving universe the rate of formation of new stars has declined and will continue to decline if the pattern generated by their computer model is to be taken at face value (published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society).

Lightning and the cult of the heavenly twins

This is posted in astronomy because it is assumed that at some point in the past the heavenly twins are derived from a real phenomenon rather than the dubious source of pre-Jewish and pre-Christian religion, as evidenced by the fact they had developed into protective deities rather than their subjective origin as destructive features of the natural world.

That man Eddy again ... and was Ptolemy a fraud?

I've been flicking through the archive of the late Janek Pietron and have come across some interesting papers that he stored for future reference. In a review of EC Krupps, In Search of Ancient Astronomies, published in the journal Archaeoastronomy (see http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~tlaloc/archastro/journal.html#vol1 or www.shpltd.co.uk/aa.html) in 1978, Eddy is mentioned in an overview of Native American archaeoastronomy north of Mexico. The reviewer, Ronald Hicks of Ball State University, generally finds his work agreeable.

The Sword of Orion

At http://phys.org/print270970024.html ... astrophysicists have investigated a cluster of oddly behaving stars in the Sword of Orion - by using, in their words, 'sophisticated computer modelling programmes'. The Orion Nebular Cluster, as the anomaly is known, they have determined, may be held together by the pull of a black hole that their models indicate is up to 200 times the mass of the Sun.