VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Iapetus update

The data have returned from Cassini’s closest-ever flyby of Iapetus (see 09/07/2007).  All the images can be found at Cassini Multimedia raw images, with good samples posted by the imaging team here and here.     Amateurs and pros at Unmanned Spaceflight started getting really excited at 12:40 a.m. Tuesday when the images hit the […]

Saturn’s Iapetus Takes Cassini’s Spotlight

Scientists are eagerly poised for Cassini’s long-awaited ultra-close flyby of Iapetus on September 10.  The previous visit in 2005 was over 77,000 miles away; this flyby will skim the surface from less than 1,000 miles.  Moreover, it will see a portion of the moon only vaguely imaged by Voyager and Cassini before.  Jet Propulsion Laboratory, […]

Solar System Solved?

Those who deal in models of the origin of the solar system sometimes have to entertain themselves to overcome grief.  See if you can detect this attitude in the following Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week from Space.com: “This has been a stumbling block for 30 years,” said Mordecai-Marc Mac Low, an astrophysicist at the […]

Is the Universe Hole-y?

Cosmologists are trying to avoid a void.  Since astronomers at U of Minnesota announced a gaping hole in a distant part of the universe, representing a region of space devoid of matter a billion light-years across, others are scrambling to discern what it means.  The issue was discussed on EurekAlert, BBC News, Science Now, and […]

Solar System News

A flurry of discoveries about the Sun’s family has some scientists smiling and others furrowing their brows.  Astrobiologists, as usual, are wielding their divining rods, looking for water.  Some of these reports surfaced at the European Planetary Science Congress last week at Potsdam, Germany; see agenda and press releases at Europlanet. Basalt assault:  How did […]

SETI Camp Promotes Make Believe

“Every kid loves to play make believe,” wrote Lisa Grossman for Space.com’s “SETI Thursday” feature.  How did Lisa spend her summer?  Playing make believe with 16 undergraduates at a NSF- and NASA-funded SETI camp.  “For many of us, the experience was nothing short of fantasy fulfillment,” she cheerfully said in her report entitled, “How I […]

“We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon”

Five full-sized galaxies have been detected at the edge of the visible universe, reported Science Now.  This continues a trend over the last few years where astronomers have been detecting old objects at young ages (e.g., 07/25/2007, 09/24/2006, 08/18/2006, 03/31/2006).   “The galaxies, which are forming stars very rapidly, are big for their age, meaning […]

Four Evidences of Cosmic Youth

Astronomers and planetary scientists routinely talk in millions and billions of years.  Three recent science news reports raise questions about how to fit apparently young objects into a vast timeline.  Lunar burps:  The moon is passing gas, reported Science News).  This explains the long history of observations of lunar transients, or bright flashes observed from […]

Stars Found Almost as Old as Universe

A new record was set by a Caltech team using the Keck telescopes on Hawaii: they detected a galaxy nearly as old as the universe.  The consensus age for the universe is 13.6 billion years.  The light from this galaxy, they claim, is over 13 billion years old – “a mere 500 million years after […]

Cosmologists in Search of Dark Ghosts

Dark matter and dark energy: do they exist?  Cosmologists and physicists are spending large amounts of money building huge and expensive detectors to find them, but so far have found nothing.  This raises profound questions about the limits of science, the interaction of observation with theory, the presuppositions behind scientific models, and the sociology of […]

We Live in a Rare Solar System

Surveys of extrasolar planets are making our solar system look unusual.  Most stars that host a family of planets have the gas giants close in, an article on Space.com states.  The “hot Jupiters” seen around many stars would most likely eject any rocky planets from the habitable zone.  “Of the nearly 250 planets discovered so […]

Iapetus, Charon Look Young for Their Age

Hard bodies in the solar system are supposed to be billions of years old.  Why, then, do so many look smooth and young-looking?  Two examples made news today: Charon So Smooth:  Pluto has a moon named Charon (KAR-on) that apparently leaks beauty cream out of its interior.  Live Science and Space.com report about a study […]

The Daily Planet

This entry is not about birds or planes; it’s supernews from the solar system. Sponge Blob:  Hyperion, an oddball moon of Saturn between Titan and Iapetus, was featured at Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week (see stunning image from Sept. 2005 at the Cassini imaging team website).  Two papers in Nature July 5 analyzed its sponge-like […]

Nature Celebrates Bizarre “Many-Worlds” Cosmology

The cover of Nature this week (July 7) looks like a comic book.  And well it might: it celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the weirdest beliefs ever submitted by a physicist: Hugh Everett’s “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics.  The bottom line is that every time you observe a coin toss or any other […]

Lord Kelvin’s Core Values Defended

Myth: Lord Kelvin held back the progress of geology for 100 years by insisting the Earth was younger than geologists and evolutionists believed. Myth debunked here.
All Posts by Date