March 2017

The Falcon 9 rocket with a reused first stage blasting off (Photo SpaceX)

A few hours ago the SES-10 satellite was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The innovation compared to regular launches of this type is that the rocket’s first stage was already used in a previous mission. It’s the first time that this happens in an actual mission.

The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage did its job and after the second stage successfully separated it landed for the second time on the “Of course I still love you” dron ship. It will be brought back to the mainland and subjected to a new series of checks and tests to understand how it endured its second mission.

The quasar 3C 186 and its galaxy (Image NASA, ESA, and M. Chiaberge (STScI and JHU))

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the discovery of a supermassive black hole pushed out from its galaxy’s core. A team of astronomers led by Marco Chiaberge of the Space Telescope Science Institute in the USA used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the quasar 3C 186 in which this phenomenon occurred. Another interesting element is that the black hole’s movement may have been accelerated by gravitational waves.

Artist's concept of primordial spiral galaxy with quasar in the background (Image A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF))

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a research about two very young galaxies that probably look very wimilar to the Milky Way 12 billion years ago. Called ALMA J081740.86+135138.2 and ALMA J120110.26+211756.2, they were observed by a team of astronomers using the ALMA radio telescope as a follow-up of previous research conducted using the light from a quasar behind the two galaxies. The new research showed that the two galaxies are surrounded by a halo of gas and that their star formation rate is rather high.

Model of the Earth's magnetic field (Image ESA)

ESA has published the most detailed map ever created of the Earth’s magnetic field using data collected over three years of the mission of its three Swarm satellites. For this work, data collected by the German CHAMP (Challenging minisatellite Payload) mission in the last decade were also used together with new modeling techniques. The result was the extraction of the tiny magnetic signals from the Earth’s crust.

The runaway stars and their positions (Image NASA, ESA, K. Luhman (Penn State University), and M. Robberto (STScI))

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a research about what used to be a multiple system in the Orion Nebula. A team of researchers led by Kevin Luhman of Penn State University used the Hubble Space Telescope to discover a runaway star that was part of the original system with two other stars already known that are also traveling at high speeds. The three stars were part of a single system untile about 540 years ago.