Astronomy Briefly

brought to you by Duane Dunkerson









Gravitational Waves Discovered
New era for the study of the Universe.

Rosetta Puts Its Philae on Comet 67P
The European Space Agency Probe, Rosetta, takes photos and finds dust, nitrogen, and ice.

Mersini-Houghton Calculates Black Holes Can't Be
Under certain assumptions that invoke Hawking radiation, then the class of singularities that includes both black holes and the Big Bang aren't there.

Our Water Older Than the Sun
Not all of it, but about 30-40% came from a protoplanetary disk. It was still around after the Sun started.

10,000 Years Ago: Astro Calendar in Scotland
Twelve pits in Warren Field are related to phases of the Moon.

Oldest Star in Universe is Near the Sun
HD 140283 is about 13.2 billion years old but is only 190 light years from us.

Water Detected on Dwarf Planet Ceres
Ceres, of the asteroid belt, has water vapor from heated ice volcanoes. The Herschel Space Observatory's far-infrared detectors recorded the vapor.

Amateur Astronomer Does Albedo Map of Ganymede
Emmanuel I. Kardasis, using a regular scope, camera, software and superior observing skills, obtained a significant contribution.

Amateurs Observe Impact Flare on Jupiter
Jupiter can now be monitored nearly continuously by amateurs.

Hubble Telescope Does Another Deep Field View
This time it is an eXtremely deep view. It shows 5,500 galaxies in a very small area of Fornax. It took 2 million seconds of exposure to show galaxies only 450 million years after the Big Bang.

Big Meteor Blast Above Russia
Shock wave smashes windows. Over one thousand people injured, mostly by flying glass. The meteor was 54 ft. across and weighed 10,000 tons.

Ultrabright Supernovae
The usual type Ia and type II supernovae are superceded by those found by the Palomar Transient Factory. They are six in number.

Can a Lunar Orbiter Find Evidence of Aliens?
It has been suggested that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's photographs be studied to find leftovers from alien lunar occupation.

Absent Dark Matter
No dark matter found in Sun's region.

Largest Ring of the Solar System
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope discovered this enormous ring in the fall of 2009. It is tilted away from the main rings. Ordinary telescopes can not reveal such a diffuse ring.

Enough Water on the Moon 
Oases of water for astronauts could be on the Moon. From no water possible to 5.6% water-ice perhaps in a 10 km region is a vast change.

LCROSS Crashed Moon - Water Plume Resulted
NASA's LCROSS spacecraft deliberately hit the moon in its Cabeus crater. About 25 gallons of water were tossed up

HM Cancri's Components Orbit Each Other in 5.4 Minutes
Two white dwarfs are so close as they revolve so fast that they say be generating more gravity than electromagnetic waves.

Largest Photo Map of the Moon
Eleven British amateur astronomers stitched together their photos of a 9 day Moon. There are 288 panes and they have detail at 0.6 miles wide.

Strange Hyperactive Galaxies of Long Ago
These are small galaxies but with stars moving very fast. So they are massive galazies. They don't fit well with astronomical generalizations about the early universe. Such galaxies aren't seen in our more recent and local universe.

Comet or Asteroid Hits Jupiter
Australian Anthony Wesley discovered an impact site on Jupiter. He found it on the anniversary of the Shoemaker-Levy comet smash.

Bright Spot on Venus
Amateur astronomer, Frank Melillo of Holtsville, NY, first found the spot. The spot may have come from extremely powerful eruptions. It may, instead, be from solar particles interacting with the Venusian atmosphere. Then, too, it could be bright concentrations of turbulence

Methane From Mars
Is it from Martian bacteria, dead or alive? Is it from volcanoes? In any case it came from Terra Sabae, Nili Fossae, and Syrtis Major.

New Cosmic Background Radiation
This background is a radio hiss. It is a relatively loud hiss.

Milky Way Galaxy : Has 4 Arms, More Mass, and Spins Faster
New observations give the Milky Way more arms. The mass and the spin have also increased. It is now thought to be more massive than the well known galaxy in Andromeda though the latter has more stars.

Fermi Spacecraft : More Gamma Ray Pulsars
Ordinary pulsars are detected by means of their narrow beam radio signals or x-ray emissions. Some pulsars have remained hidden because they are oriented such that the beams miss Earth. They do, however, emit more broadly in gamma rays. Fermi finds these.

An Organic Molecule Discovered on an Exoplanet
 The Hubble telescope has been used to find methane and water on a distant planet the size of Jupiter.

Comet Holmes Has Been A Stunning Sight
The comet brightened by a factor of one million. Suddenly it went from mag 17 to mag 2.5. Naked eye observations or binoculars gave fascinating views. It had erupted before in November 1892.

Altair Revealed
The close star, Altair, has had its surface seen. Four linked telescopes (CHARA) on Mt. Wilson,CA, use image correction to gain 25X resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. They see a flattened Altair due to a rotation in under 10 hours.

First Discovery of a Comet Via Digital Camera
Terry Lovejoy found Comet C/2007 E2 with his trusty Canons. He shared this year's Edgar Wilson Award for amateur comet finding with John Broughton and David H. Levy.

A Massive Star Duo
One star is 37X the mass of the Sun.The other is 62X the mass of the Sun. They are close and orbit each other in slightly over two days.

Utah Has First International Dark-Sky Site
Natural Bridges National Monument is the first international dark sky site as designated by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Brightest, Most Powerful Stellar Explosion
It was 100X a typical sypernova.

South Pole of Mars Has a Great Amount of Water  
 Polar region has enough water to cover all of Mars to 36 feet deep

Comet McNaught
A great comet it was, visible in the daytime, with a majestic sweeping tail.

Sub-Surface Craters on Mars
Radar reveals craters under the Martian surface.

On Earth, Comet Dust Analyzed
Samples from Comet Wild 2 brought to Earth show the early Solar System was violent. The comet has high and low temperature materials stored in it for billions of years.

The Impossible Supernova
Too bright? Too massive? A new kind of Type Ia supernovae?

Some Galaxies Don't Show Enough Big Bang Afterglow
Massive clusters of galaxies should have more of a "shadow" from blocked cosmic microwave backgound emission.

Shadow Transit on Uranus
The Hubble Space Telescope shows, for first time, the shadow of one of Uranus's moons, Ariel, against the clouds of Uranus.

Ice Geysers on Mars
They toss sand and dust hundreds of feet into the Martian air. They are at the South Pole of Mars.

The Faintest Stars
The Hubble scope took in the light of cluster NGC 6397 for 5 days. The dimmest must be 8.3% of the Sun's mass.

Largest Structure of the Universe
Linked galaxies across 200 million light-years.

Lucky Imaging is LowCost, Sharp as Hubble
Ground-based scope takes millions of images very quickly. Software sorts the ones without atmospheric blur.

The Auroras of Mars
They arise from magnetic fields of the crust and are ultraviolet flashes.

Ancient Supernovae From Echoes of Their Light
It is like an archeology of the supernovae.

NASA Recorded A Lunar Hit
NASA video shows the hit. Most probably the impact was from a taurid. It landed near the edge of Mare Imbrium.

Mystery of Galactic X-ray Glow is Solved
White dwarfs and coronae of other more ordinary stars give the glow.

No, Most Stars in Our Galaxy are Solo
Most galactic stars are red dwarfs. Most of them are not binaries.

Fastest Spin in the Solar System
In the Kuiper Belt, 2003 EL61 rotates every 3.9 hours.

Giant Galaxies in the Very Early Universe
It was thought galaxies would be small early on.

Melting Lunar Dust
Lunar soil melts (sinters) fast in a microwave. Put the microwave on wheels and go to the moon?

Asteroid Dust Could Affect Local Weather
Warm and high clouds of asteroid remains can be of 1,000 metric tons appearing in a few seconds.

Mystery of Gamma Ray Bursts is Solved
The theory of a collision between two neutron stars or a black hole and a neutron star is confirmed.

First Planet With Three Suns
Planet has a year of only three and a half days.

The Smallest Star
A star, OGLE-TR-122B, is only 16% larger than Jupiter.

Mars Could Have Life
The Mars Express finds possible evidence for life on Mars from measures of methane. Also, geologically recent volcanism and glacial activity have been proposed.

Distant Quasar in Nearby Galaxy?
A high red-shift object lies within NCG 7319.

The Sun Was Not Alone
It could be that the Sun came from a crowd of stars. It then wandered to its present lonely position.

Amateur Astronomer Photographs Surface of Venus
Christophe Pellier of Bruz, France, used a 14 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain scope.

Comet Wild 2 is Astoundingly Irregular
The comet's nucleus has tall projections, steep craters, and dozens of jets from inside.

Eternal Light on the Moon
A lunar mountain is never dark.

Diamond Star, 10 Billion Trillion Trillion Carats
It is 50 light years away in the constellation Centaurus.

Lunar Prospecting By Means of X-rays
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory detects chemical elements of the lunar surface from fluorescence caused by solar x-rays.

Gas Telescope for Focus of Black Holes, Quasars
Earth-Orbit Synthesis is Put to Use to Make Scintillations from Radio Sources

No Quantum Cosmological Blur
No support for quantum time, space, and gravity.

Flat Lens Could Enhance Resolution 
The new physics of metamaterials confers optical advantages.

A Diverse Big Bang Echo?
Cosmic microwave background radiation has an unexplained structure, not the same in all directions.

Gamma Ray Bursts: Those Less Than 2 Seconds; More Than 2  Seconds
2,000 bursts have been checked. Fantastic explosions may account for the longer bursts.

Huge Ring of Stars Around Our Galaxy
A newly discovered gigantic feature of our galaxy has been found. Several hundred million stars surround our galaxy

No Standard for Quasar Velocity
A recent survey of 200,000 galaxies and 25,000 quasars doesn't support the notion of quasars near some galaxies close to us as all being at 59% the velocity of light.

Amateurs Find Asteroids and Other Things
The 3 telescopes of Roy Tucker in a Tucson backyard are so arranged that they provide images in triplicate - to detect celestial movement.

Amateurs Find Supernovas
A large American telescope built in 9 years from scrap by Tim Puckett is used by Puckett and volunteers to discover 54 supernovas. They searched through 500,000 photos made with the telescope that is located in Georgia.

Vast Amounts of Water on Mars
Water-ice on Mars is immediately below surface. Melt it all and you have an ocean covering the planet. NASA and people to Mars, finally?

Sunlight Produces Deadly Asteroids?
The Sun's radiative force via The Yarkovsky Effect could push asteroids out of stable orbits.

A First : Exoplanet's Atmosphere Revealed
HD209458, a star in Pegasus, has a planet that, as seen from the Earth, passes in front of it.

The Mystery of the Milky Way's X-ray Glow is Solved
The source for this glow is diffuse gas, not discrete objects.

A Drop in Cosmic Rays Correlates With an Increase in Sunspots
There is a delay of a year in a drop of cosmic ray intensity vs. a rise in sunspot numbers for alternate sun cycles.

Milankovitch Cycles Cooled Earth
Millions of years ago an unusual association of low values for Earth's orbital eccentricity and the tilt of the Earth's axis led to a huge expansion of Antarctica's ice.

Reducing Moonlight Glare with Polarizing Filters
Scattered moonlight blots out optical astronomy work for many nights of the month.













Copyright 2019
by Duane Dunkerson

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