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Favourite stories from the last seven days - Dr Stuart Clark

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To make up for the lack of stories from me, here are some of the ones that have caught my eye during the last seven days or so.

 

 

Astronomers Find Enormous Hole in the Universe
“Astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies, and gas, and the mysterious, unseen "dark matter." While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.
"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota. …”


Read the full press release here.

 

Next, there are two about Saturn’s fascinating moon Titan:

 

Will Titan lose its veil?
Titan’s think hydrocarbon atmosphere is a bit of a puzzle for astronomers because Ganymede, a slightly larger moon at Jupiter, does not have an atmosphere.  This press release deals with whether Titan’s atmosphere is a passing phenomenon.
“The question of whether Titan can retain its thick, organic atmosphere for the rest of its lifetime could hinge on how efficiently methane molecules were packed inside water “crates” during a period of the moon’s formation. …”


Read the full story here.

 

Fasten your seat belts – Turbulent Lessons from Titan
I don’t know about you but turbulence on flights never fails to make me feel nauseous.  So it was with some amusement that I saw this press release: “Have you spilled your drink on an airliner?  Researchers on both sides of the Atlantic are finding new ways to understand turbulence, both in the Earth's atmosphere and that of Saturn's moon Titan. …”


Read the full story here.

 

Space travellers gather in Croatia for historic summit
“On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of space travel, space travellers with a combined 415 days of space experience gathered in Split, Croatia to discuss the future of human spaceflight. …”


You can read about the conference here.

 

Edge-On!
Astronomers have their first chance to see the rings of planet Uranus edge-on since their discovery in 1977.
“As Uranus coasts through a brief window of time when its rings are edge-on to Earth – a view of the planet we get only once every 42 years – astronomers peering at the rings with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other space or ground-based telescopes are getting an unprecedented view of the fine dust in the system, free from the glare of the bright rocky rings. They may even find a new moon or two.”
Read the full story and see the images here.


You can also see Hubble images here.

 

Finally, here are some stories from the European Space Agency:

 

The latest from the SMART-1 mission to the Moon
The SMART-1 mission is now just a pile of wreckage on the surface of the Moon but its data lives on:  “Owing to SMART-1’s high resolution and favourable illumination conditions during the satellite’s scientific operations, data from Europe’s lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.”


Read the full story and see the images here.

 

AKARI’s observations of asteroid Itokawa
“The space-borne infrared observatory AKARI, observed asteroid Itokawa last month with its Infrared Camera. The data will be used to refine estimates of sizes of potentially hazardous asteroids in the future. …”
There is also a movie of Itokawa’s motion that goes with this press release.

 

Read the full story here.

 

Hinode helps unravel long-standing solar mysteries
A year after launch, scientists working with Hinode, a Japanese mission with ESA participation, are meeting at Trinity College, Dublin, to discuss latest findings on solar mysteries - including new insights on solar flares and coronal heating.


Read the full story here.

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