SJAA Ephemeris November 2010 | SJAA Home | Contents | Previous | Next

The Last Month in Astronomy

NGC 1365


12-OCT-2010 • Smothered Supernova • A supernova has been discovered by Ohio State researchers that is covered by dust. The supernova was first seen in 2007 using the Spitzer Space Telescope. They weren’t looking for supernovae at the time. They were trying to detect hot spots that occur near black holes that are actively sucking up material. But the signature they found in this case was not what they expected when they looked at a galaxy that is 3 billion light years distant. This has been confirmed with more recent research using the Keck Telescope in Hawaii. Supernovae of this type may have occurred fairly often in the past and Eta Carinae might do something similar. The last eruption of Eta Carinae was seen in 1840. It is covered with a dust shell that is called Homunculus Nebula.

12-OCT-2010 • Fire down below Mars • It has often been noted that life could exist below the surface of Mars. That possibility sounds greater now based on data that came from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). A deposit of carbonate rocks that were originally 6 meters deep was exposed by an ancient meteorite. These rocks show evidence of having been altered by heat. According to Joseph Michalsky “... such deposits could indicate past seas that were once present on Mars.”

07-OCT-2010 • Saturnian Moons Share • Paul Schenk from Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston is the lead author for an article describing how the Saturnian Moons share. He says “The beauty of it all is how the satellites behave as a family, recording similar processes and event on their surfaces ... we see it on several moons, including Mimas, which was once thought to be rather bland.” For example, Enceladus sprays icy material which makes up the E ring and the blowback gives Enceladus a blue tinge. But it also paints the surface of Tethys, Dione and Rhea. Amanda Hendrix of JPL says “Analyzing the image color ratios is a great way to really enhance the otherwise subtle color variations.” This in turn allows the study of processes within the Saturnian system.

05-OCT-2010 • Astronomy buys Discover • The owner of Astronomy and other magazines, the Kalmbach Publishing Company, has purchased Discover magazine, aka Discover Media LLC. Both magazines will continue.

04-OCT-2010 • Europa Fast Reactions • Europa is apparently covered with tens of meters of ice. The temperatures are so cold that it is assumed any chemical reactions within that ice would be slow. But apparently, with ice and sulfur dioxide as reactants, the reactions can be rather quick. This reaction does not need a lot of radiation to speed up these reactions so these reactions might happen deep into the ice blanket. The reactions at 130 Kelvin occur almost instantaneously.

23-SEP-2010 • NGC 1365 • The galaxy NGC 1365 has a new picture (seen here, Image Credit: ESO) to add to its modeling portfolio. It was taken in the infrared using the HAWK-I camera at the VLT (Very Large Telescope) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. This galaxy is 60 million light years away in the Fornax galaxy cluster. It is one of the clearest examples of a barred spiral galaxy. Perhaps 2/3 of all spiral galaxies are barred spirals including the Milky Way.


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