April 2017

The heliosphere according to the latest measurements (Image Dialynas, et al.)

An article published in the journal Nature Astronomy describes a research on the shape of the heliosphere, the “bubble” in which the solar wind density is greater than that of interstellar matter. A team led by Kostas Dialynas of the Academy of Athens used data collected by four space probes – Cassini, the two Voyagers and IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) – to prove that the heliosphere has an approximately spherical shape and not extended with a tail as seemed much more likely.

The storm at Saturn's north pole (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA started publishing the first photos taken by the Cassini space probe after its descent into the gap between the planet Saturn and its rings. These are the closest photos taken during a risky maneuver for Cassini, performed only because within a few months it will end its mission so it was decided that it’s worth taking risks to collect close-range data.

The galaxy NGC 7250 and the star TYC 3203-450-1 (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA)

An image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope portrays the irregular galaxy NGC 7250, along with the star TYC 3203-450-1, which is much closer and thus from the Earth looks much brighter than a whole galaxy. That star’s presence makes studying the galaxy more difficult because its light interferes with NGC 7250’s dimmer light, polluting the observations of an object that’s interesting because of its peculiar characteristics.

The galaxies NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 (Photo NASA, ESA, and M. Mutchler (STScI))

On April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was put into orbit after being launched the day before on the Space Shuttle Discovery. To celebrate that event’s 27th anniversary representing a milestone in the history of astronomy, one of the many breathtaking photographs that accompanied Hubble’s activity was published, which in this case portrays two galaxies together, NGC 4302 and NGC 4298.

Images of the HH 212 system (Sources ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Lee et al.)

An article published in the journal Science Advances describes the detection of a protostar named HH 212 that is feeding on an accretion disk. A team led by Chin-Fei Lee of the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA, Taiwan) used the ALMA radio telescope to capture a moment of still little known phase of formation of stars and perhaps even of their planets.