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Space

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-look-directly-into-the-quasar dept.
KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."
Space

Meteorite Contains Complex Organic Molecules 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the fun-with-space-rocks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Previously unknown organic molecules have been discovered in a 100 kg meteorite that hit Australia in 1969, suggesting that our early Solar System contained a soup of highly complex organic chemistry long before life appeared. Quoting: 'According to [the study's lead author], the newly discovered compounds in the Murchison meteorite "may have contributed to the organic complexity of the early 'soup' that led to the development of life on Earth." The findings also suggest that extraterrestrial chemical diversity surpasses that found on Earth. The meteor probably passed through primordial clouds in the early solar system, accumulating organic molecules in a snowball effect along the way. By tracing the sequence of organic molecules in the meteorite, researchers believe they may also be able to create a timeline for their formation and alteration since the early days of our solar system.'"

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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