Mid-June Astronomy Notes from Around the Galaxy

June 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

A New Look at the Map of the Milky Way Shows some arms may only be gases
“According to Astronomer Robert Benjamin of the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, US, two of the Milky Way’s spiral arms may not be spiral arms at all, but just concentrations of gas, perhaps inhabited by a small amount of young stars.
Benjamin arrived at this conclusion after the two arms failed to appear in a sensitive survey conducted by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer is one of the first telescopes that is uniquely able to conduct such a survey of our galaxy, thanks to its infrared vision being able to pierce through the dust that obscures many stars at certain optical wavelengths of light.”

Saturn’s Titan has Implications for Understanding of Life Throughout the Galaxy
Titan has no oxygen and is extremely cold, but who’s counting degrees when there’s CARBON!!!???
“The second largest moon in the solar system, Titan has long been of interest for hopeful exobioligists. As the only other body we know of with surface bodies of liquid, complete with nitrogen, methane and complete seasonal weather patterns (similar to Earth’s). It even has beaches, though you’ll need a little more than a swimsuit to visit. Vast bodies of chemicals constantly stirred by wind and wave, heated over a gentle sunlight heat with the occasional dash of articles from Saturn’s magnetosphere for spice – a perfect recipe for life. Just like a certain planet you might be familiar with (look down if you forget).”

Sunspot Enigma — What Does Sunspot Silence Mean for Earth?
“Dark spots, some as large as 50,000 miles in diameter, typically move across the surface of the sun, contracting and expanding as they go. These strange and powerful phenomena are known as sunspots, but now they are all gone. Not even solar physicists know why it’s happening and what this odd solar silence might be indicating for our future.
Although periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, this current period has gone on much longer than usual…Now this 11-year low in Sunspot activity has raised fears among a small but growing number of scientists that rather than getting warmer, the Earth could possibly be about to return to another cooling period.”


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Your Milky Way Horoscope June 15-21 Your Milky Way Horoscope June 22-28, 2008

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