Monday, June 29, 2009

Teenage Wasteland

Those mysterious space blobs are now a little less mysterious. To recap: last month astronomers found powerfully energetic blobs--the scientific paper actually called them "blobs"--at the very edge of observable space, some of most distant objects ever recorded. At the time the leading theory was we we witnessing the violent births of baby galaxies, with baby black holes at their centers.

As it turns out, they are teenagers. They are galaxies going through all sorts of crazy changes before maturing and stabilizing. James Geach, the lead researcher of the study, said that the chaos "is due to the violent processes occurring in the galaxies, black hole growth, starbursts, mergers. They're having a final 'tantrum' before they're done growing and then 'passively' evolve to the present day.

Sound familiar?

NPR was reporting rather breathlessly last week that Enceladus, the geyser-spouting moon of Saturn, has liquid salt water seas under it's crust. It might be true: Cassini flew through the geysers last year and, according to one set of scientists, found evidence of salt water in the geysers. That is deeply cool, in that salt water oceans were the cradle of complex life on Earth. However, the same issue of Nature has a paper from another team of scientists from Boulder, who say there isn't enough sodium in the samples to support the salt water ocean hypothesis. So the jury is out.

And NPR is a little bit busted.


Daisy said...

So, I"m making out my change of address cards for Saturn. (Yeah, ACES is a nice step toward maybe not killing this planet, but I'm playing it safe.)

Clowncar said...

I'd move there in a second (though it is probably kinda cold). Such a pretty moon, isn't it? And I imagine the night sky is rather dazzling as well, what with Saturn's rings filling the sky.