02 - Full Moon
at 19:14 UT
05 - Taurid
(south) meteor shower peaks. Active
between 25 Sept and 25 Nov.
Associated with Comet 2P/Encke.
09 - Moon near
Mars (morning sky) at 14h UT. Mag. +0.3.
12 -Taurid (north) meteor
shower peaks. May produce the occasional
17 -Leonid meteor shower
peaks at 9h UT. Arises from debris ejected
Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1533. Expect about 25
to 30 meteors per hour under
dark skies. Predictions of enhanced activity
between 21-22h UT on 17 Nov
(favours sky watchers in Asia).
21 -Alpha Monocerotid meteor
shower peaks at 15:25 UT. A usually minor
shower active 15-25 Nov. Radiant is near Procyon.
Predictions of enhanced
activity this year. Timing favours Far East
Asia, Australia and across the
Pacific to Alaska.
00 0 0
0 0 0//
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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Stellar blast from 13.1 billions light year detected
The redness of the afterglow is indicative of the event's distance
Astronomers have confirmed that an exploding star spotted by Nasa's Swift satellite is the most distant cosmic object to be detected by telescopes. In the journal Nature, two teams of astronomers report their observations of a gamma-ray burst from a star that died 13.1 billion light-years away.
The massive star died about 630 million years after the Big Bang. UK astronomer Nial Tanvir described the observation as "a step back in cosmic time". Professor Tanvir led an international team studying the afterglow of the explosion, using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii.
The event, dubbed GRB 090423, is an example of one of the most violent explosions in the Universe. It is thought to have been associated with the cataclysmic death of a massive star - triggered by the centre of the star collapsing to form a "stellar-sized" black hole.
The youngest and most distant galaxy cluster yet has been discovered by scientists 10.2 billion light years away, a billion further than the previous record. The JKCS041 galaxy cluster, discovered by combining x-ray data from NASA with optical and infrared telescopes, is viewed as it was when the universe was a quarter of its current age.
Galaxy clusters are the universe's largest collections of items held together by gravity, and scientists hope the discovery of one at such an early stage will help them discover more about how the universe evolved.
Astronomers do it Again: Find Organic Molecules Around Gas Planet
Peering far beyond our solar system, NASA researchers have detected the basic chemistry for life in a second hot gas planet, advancing astronomers toward the goal of being able to characterize planets where life could exist. The planet is not habitable but it has the same chemistry that, if found around a rocky planet in the future, could indicate the presence of life.
Swain and his co-investigators used data from two of NASA's orbiting Great Observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, to study HD 209458b, a hot, gaseous giant planet bigger than Jupiter that orbits a sun-like star about 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. The new finding follows their breakthrough discovery in December 2008 of carbon dioxide around another hot, Jupiter-size planet, HD 189733b. Earlier Hubble and Spitzer observations of that planet had also revealed water vapor and methane.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered an enormous ring around Saturn -- by far the largest of the giant planet's many rings.
The new belt lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system, with an orbit tilted 27 degrees from the main ring plane. The bulk of its material starts about six million kilometers (3.7 million miles) away from the planet and extends outward roughly another 12 million kilometers (7.4 million miles). One of Saturn's farthest moons, Phoebe, circles within the newfound ring, and is likely the source of its material.
Saturn's newest halo is thick, too -- its vertical height is about 20 times the diameter of the planet. It would take about one billion Earths stacked together to fill the ring.
An artist's impression of COROT-7b, where pebbles fall as rain
COROT-7b, an alien planet where a rain of pebbles falls from clouds of rock vapour into lakes of molten lava, has been found by astronomers. Computer models of COROT-7b, a planet orbiting an orange dwarf star in the constellation Monoceros, 490 light years away, suggest that the world has a surface temperature hot enough to boil rock.
The research, by scientists at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, conjures up a vision of hell. COROT-7b, a rocky planet around twice the size of the Earth but of similar density, is only 1.6 million miles from its star: 23 times closer than the innermost planet in our solar system, Mercury, is to the Sun.
This proximity means that the planet is gravitationally locked, like the Moon to the Earth, so that one side of the planet always faces the star.So while its far side is in perpetual freezing darkness - around 50 degrees above absolute zero - its near side is a balmy 2,800C.
While scientists are not sure of the exact chemical makeup of the planet, the sheer temperatures mean that whatever it is, the rocky ground will boil, forming a mineral atmosphere. And when cold fronts move in, small pebbles will condense and form rain and hail, just like water on Earth.
COROT-7b was discovered by the European Space Agency space telescope COROT in February, but the Washington University researchers were the first to model its atmosphere.
Source: Telegraph.co.uk Image credit: EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY
Oort cloud, is a postulated spherical cloud
of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from
the Sun. This is approximately 1000 times the distance
from the Sun to Pluto or roughly one light year, almost
a quarter of the distance from the Sun to Proxima
Centauri, the star nearest the Sun. The Oort cloud
would have its inner disk at the ecliptic from the
Kuiper belt. Although no direct observations have
been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the
source of most or all comets entering the inner solar
system (some short-period comets may come from the
Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits
of comets. Source: Wikipedia