Astronomy in the News

Like most people, I enjoy Astronomy from many different perspectives. From the beauty of a distance nebula to constellations linked with ancient mythological gods, to ancient and current alien theories, humanity has always plotted its course based on the movement of celestial objects. Rarely does a week go by that something new is no discovered in the vast expanse of the sky that we call a never-ending universe.

  Andromeda 'born in a collision'   BBC - November 25, 2010

The nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way - Andromeda - was born when two smaller galaxies collided, say astronomers. An international team conducted a computer simulation of how Andromeda evolved over time. The results suggest that two galaxies collided some nine billion years ago and permanently fused about 5.5 billion years ago.

Massive Galaxies Formed When Universe Was Young, New Findings Suggest   Science Daily - November 25, 2010

Some of the universe's most massive galaxies may have formed billions of years earlier than current scientific models predict, according to surprising new research led by Tufts University.

Jupiter's brown stripe is returning, say astronomers   BBC - November 26, 2010

One of the "stripes" on Jupiter that faded away earlier this year is making a comeback, astronomers have said. The South Equatorial Belt had blended into surrounding white clouds but an "outbreak" spotted by an amateur astronomer heralds the stripe's return. The stripe's disappearing act is due to clouds shifting altitudes, with white ammonia clouds obscuring clouds below. This performance will give astronomers their first chance to study the weather and chemistry behind the phenomenon.

Jupiter gets its stripe back   PhysOrg - November 25, 2010
Astronomers using three telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii have recorded the return of a unique belt on Jupiter that periodically fades from dark brown to white. It's most recent fade-out started earlier this year, but November observations with the Keck, Gemini and Infrared Telescope Facility show the brown returning. It appears that reflected sunlight off high elevation clouds of ammonia ice have been blocking our view of the darker clouds below.

Dark energy and flat Universe exposed by simple method   BBC - November 25, 2010
Researchers have developed a simple technique that adds evidence to the theory that the Universe is flat. Moreover, the method - developed by revisiting a 30-year-old idea - confirms that "dark energy" makes up nearly three-quarters of the Universe.

Saturn's moon Rhea has thin atmosphere   BBC - November 26, 2010

Rhea, the second biggest moon of Saturn, has an atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide, scientists say. It is incredibly thin, however. The density of O2, for example, is probably about five trillion times less dense than the oxygen that blankets Earth. The presence of an exosphere, as it is more properly called, was confirmed by instruments on the Cassini probe which orbits the ringed planet and its moons. Oxygen exospheres have been seen at Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede, but this is the first time such a detection has been made in the Saturnian system.

Saturn's Moon Rhea Has Oxygen Atmosphere   National Geographic - November 25, 2010
An oxygen atmosphere has been found on Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, astronomers announced Thursday - but don't hold your breath for colonization opportunities. For one thing, the 932-mile-wide (1,500-kilometer-wide), ice-covered moon is more than 932 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. For another, the average surface temperature is -292 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 degrees Celsius)

Early Universe was a liquid: First results from the Large Hadron Collider's ALICE experiment   PhysOrg - November 25, 2010

The very early Universe was not only very hot and dense but behaved like a hot liquid.

Young-star discovery hints magnetism common to all cosmic jets   PhysOrg - November 25, 2010

Astronomers have found the first evidence of a magnetic field in a jet of material ejected from a young star, a discovery that points toward future breakthroughs in understanding the nature of all types of cosmic jets and of the role of magnetic fields in star formation.

German physicists create a 'super-photon'   PhysOrg - November 25, 2010

Physicists from the University of Bonn have developed a completely new source of light, a so-called Bose-Einstein condensate consisting of photons. Until recently, expert had thought this impossible. This method may potentially be suitable for designing novel light sources resembling lasers that work in the X-ray range. Among other applications, they might allow building more powerful computer chips. The scientists are reporting on their discovery in the upcoming issue of the journal Nature.