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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 […]

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 […]

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.

Saturn’s Moons Are Bustin’ Out All Over

Add Tethys and Dione to the party blowers around Saturn.  Cassini found that these two moons are active, like Enceladus and Titan, though on a lesser scale.  Cassini scientists discovered the effects of outbound particles from these moons by studying the plasma fields with the Cassini plasma spectrometer (CAPS) instrument.  The results suggest surface activity, […]

How Old Are Sand Dunes?

The Namib Desert has some of the largest sand dunes in the world.  How old are they?  Three scientists from the University of London decided to find out.  They took cores out of some dunes in Namibia and analyzed the sand, using multiple high-tech methods.  Their conclusion, just published in Geology: the dunes are much […]

Think Fast: News Briefs

Of the many news items that cross the CEH desk, many are noteworthy but go unreported due to lack of time.  Here are a few that deserve honorable mention lest they pass into oblivion. Cosmology: Dark future – Several sources like Science Now and Space.com commented on the dark future of the universe if cosmic acceleration […]

Tweaking Mercury to Keep it Old

Mercury has a magnetic field.  That’s odd.  It shouldn’t.  If it were 4.6 billion years old, the little planet should be solid stiff by now.  Planetary scientists have published a new model of its interior with the required molten outer core that allows a dynamo to generate the observed magnetic field.  What’s interesting are the […]

Binary Asteroid “Formidable Challenge to Theory”

Two asteroids found orbiting each other in the asteroid belt are found to be mere rubble piles.  They are composed of rocks loosely held together by gravity, says an article on Science Daily.  French astronomers measured the rotation of the pair and their density with better accuracy, and modeled how the pair might have split […]

The Hot Moon Epidemic Spreads to the Suburbs

A planetary symptom we might call “Enceladus fever” is apparently an epidemic.  Now, we’ve found that it infects some of the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) beyond the orbit of Neptune.  More and more small bodies are being found with internal heat that has broken out onto the surface.  This is a big surprise.  Small bodies […]

Saturn Still Serving Surprises

The Cassini Spacecraft, three-fourths of the way into its 4-year prime mission, is not running out of new things to see.  Some of the latest discoveries are both awesome and strange. A Hex on the Pole:  As if the south pole of Saturn, with its earth-sized hurricane (picture) were not dramatic enough, the north pole […]

Lunar Dust Is Deadly

A significant fraction of lunar dust could pose deadly risks to future astronauts stationed on the moon, a BBC News report says.  About 1-3% of moon dust particles are too small to be coughed up or removed by the cilia lining the respiratory tract.  These would lodge in the lungs and become inflamed.  As in […]

Did Mars Have a Global Flood?

There’s enough ice under Mars’ southern polar cap to flood the entire planet under 36 feet of water, reports Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The MARSIS radar instrument on the ESA-NASA Mars Express determined that the ice cap is more than 2 miles thick in places.  According to the report on National Geographic News, traces of possible […]

The Enceladus Problem Heats Up

How can a small icy moon produce hot-water geysers?  That is the Enceladus problem: for a small moon assumed to be 4.5 billion years old to be forcefully gushing out water from its south pole was a great surprise when the Cassini spacecraft first detected the geysers in 2005 (11/28/2005).  Ever since, scientists have been […]
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