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Out of this World

News from space and astronomy communities around the world.

It’s Raining on the Sun

Image of solar filament

A huge magnetic filament erupts on 30 March 2010. Credit: SDO/AIA

By David Reneke

Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.

It came like a bolt out of the blue and lasted only a few seconds, but it opened up new questions and solved an old one about our closest stellar neighbour, the Sun. Scientists working with NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) have released the most astonishing movies of the Sun anyone has ever seen, including a massive eruption – one of the biggest in years.

Out of This World

Image

The PacMan-shaped hot spot has baffled scientists. Image: NASA/JPL

By David Reneke

Dave Reneke brings news from the space and astronomy communities around the world.

PacMan in the Moon
Were you a closet PacMan player? If the image here looks familiar then you’re going to like this story.

The highest resolution temperature map ever taken of Mimas, one of Saturn's small inner moons, has revealed a surprising pattern on the rocky surface – a PacMan-shaped hot area that scientists are now trying to explain.

David Reneke is an astronomy educator, writer and broadcaster who represents Australasian Science on more than 60 networked radio stations across Australia. He also produces a range of educational CD-ROMS on astronomy and space exploration for beginners, and runs an astronomy outreach program for schools throughout NSW. Subscribe to David’s free Astro-Space newsletter at www.davidreneke.com

Europa: Our Best Bet for Earth-Like Life

By David Reneke

If a 100-km deep ocean existed below the ice shell of Europa, the sixth of Jupiter's many moons, it would be 10 times deeper than any ocean on Earth and would contain twice as much water as Earth's oceans and rivers combined!