It’s Friday! Time for another round-up of the science and astronomy stories that caught my eye this week . . .
- Life on Saturn’s moon? How a mountain gave clues to a subsurface sea
The Christian Science Monitor
“Behind its ‘bland cueball’ exterior, Dione might be hiding some secrets of her own ? like an ocean anywhere from 5 to 30 miles deep, trapped beneath a frozen surface.”
- Black hole bonanza turns up in galaxy next door
“Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered an unprecedented bonanza of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.”
- Marks on Martian dunes may be tracks of dry-ice sleds
“NASA research indicates hunks of frozen carbon dioxide ? dry ice ? may glide down some martian sand dunes on cushions of gas similar to miniature hovercraft, plowing furrows as they go.”
- Stacking up a clearer picture of the universe
- Cosmic giants shed new light on dark matter
“An international team of astronomers from Taiwan, England, and Japan has used the Subaru Telescope to measure the distribution of dark matter in 50 galaxy clusters and found that its density gradually decreases from the center of these cosmic giants to their diffuse outskirts. This new evidence about the mysterious dark matter that pervades our universe conforms to the predictions of cold dark matter theory.”
- Lone Signal aims to send “hello!” tweets to extraterrestrials
“Would you pay 25 cents to send a tweet to space on the odd chance that an alien might read it? The founders of Lone Signal hope so. The New York startup is launching a new website through which anyone can submit messages that will be broadcast to a star 17 light years away.”
- Modern uses for ancient Maori knowledge
“The team is looking at topics such as traditional celestial navigation and the ?star paths? M?ori took to travel between islands and the use of tribal moon calendars to plant crops and fish at favourable times of the year. Dr Harris, of Rongomaiwahine and Ng?ti Kahungunu descent, has spent the last year forming a picture of how particular tribes developed calendars from the movement of the moon.”
- Google launches broadband balloons, radio astronomy frets
“In long-baseline configurations, radio telescopes separated by thousands of kilometres are connected together, creating an effective ?dish size? of thousands of kilometres, thereby yielding vastly more information than any single dish could ever accomplish. However, if there’s a Loon balloon in the line of sight of an NZ facility, it would be knocked out of the configuration and the baseline length reduced accordingly.”
- Does a supermoon have a super effect on us?
“Given the change in distance between the moon?s farthest and closest points, the full moon can appear as much as 14% larger in the sky and 30% brighter to our eyes than at minimum size and brightness.”
- Bizarre supernova completely normal in every way, find astronomers
The Christian Science Monitor
“A group of astronomers just announced that they’ve found the perfect Type Ia supernova. The Platonic ideal of Type Ia supernovae: 2011fe.”
“Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) have proven a new technique that will provide a clearer picture of the Universe’s history and be used with the next generation of radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).”
Creative Commons photo: Milky Way by gfinik.