Strange Exploding Star Continues to Puzzle Astronomers

The Hubble took another image of the expanding shell of star V838 Monocerotis (see ESA and Hubblesite).  Four years after the first dramatic sequence (see 05/29/2003), astronomers are still puzzled by this star, with the most dramatic light echo ever photographed.  Leading hypothesis now is that two stars collided before the outburst.  The image made […]

SETI Tries to Stretch the Habitable Zone

Can life exist outside the circumstellar habitable zone, that ring of life around a star where the temperature is comfy?  “For more than 150 years,” Ker Than wrote for LiveScience, “…this zone has been defined as a narrow disk around a star where temperatures are moderate enough that water on the surface of a planet […]

Late Bloomer Galaxy Just Now Getting Into Star Formation?

According to a story in New Scientist, a “young” galaxy is just now starting its process of star formation.  Most galaxies formed more than 10 billion years ago.  Those born later tend to be fashioned from recycled gas rich in metals that were forged by previous generations of stars.  But astronomers Trinh Thuan of the […]

Planet-Building a Mess, or Theories a Mess?

A news release from the Spitzer Space Telescope operated by JPL says, “Astronomers Discover Planet Building is Big Mess.”  Data from the orbiting infrared observatory indicates that dust disks around stars appear to be dominated by collisions of large bodies.  Surprisingly, the dust disks do not correlate with the stars’ ages.  A study of 266 […]

A “Completely Different Slant” on Solar System Formation

51; “Did great balls of fire form the planets?” New Scientist asks.  A new theory “challenges the notion that the solar system started out as a placid sea of dust motes which simply clumped together to form planets.” If accepted, it “puts a completely different slant on what happened in the early solar system in […]

Sunshine Is for Health

51; The old wisdom: stay out of the sun.  The new wisdom: your life could depend on getting sunshine: about 10-15 minutes of exposure three times a week.     Science Daily reported that Vitamin D, produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight, provides more health to the body than previously thought.  Health professionals […]
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