June 2017

Betelgeuse seen by ALMA (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a study of the star Betelgeuse conducted using the ALMA radio telescope. This extraordinary instrument studied for the first time the surface of a star to get the highest resolution images ever obtained of Betelgeuse. This made it possible to obtain new data about its atmosphere and its asymmetries that will help to better understand red supergiants in the phases preceding a supernova.

Two supermassive black holes seen by VLBA (Image Bansal et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF.)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the discovery of the first pair of supermassive black holes orbiting each other at the center of the galaxy hosting them, called 0402+379. A team of astronomers used the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope to locate the two black holes about 750 million light years from Earth. Their combined mass is about 15 billion times the Sun’s.

Perseverance Valley (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity is working in an ancient valley on the edge of Endeavour Endeavour’s rim called “Perseverance Valley” examining rocks and driving around the area to carry out a survey of the place. According to plans, once these tasks are completed Opportunity will go down to the lower part of the valley but the maneuver will have to be even more cautious than expected due to a problem encountered in one of the wheels’ steering system.

The first stage used to launch the BulgariaSat 1 satellite after its hard landing (Image SpaceX)

SpaceX has set a new record for a private company by launching two rockets in just over 48 hours. On Friday, from Cape Canaveral the BulgariaSat 1 communications satellite was launched, while on Sunday, from the Vandenberg base in California 10 satellites of the Iridium NEXT constellation were launched. In both cases the first stage successfully landed.

The galaxy cluster MACS J2129-0741 and the galaxy MACS2129-1 (Image NASA, ESA, and S. Toft (University of Copenhagen), M. Postman (STScI), and the CLASH team)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a study of the galaxy MACS 2129-1. An international team of researchers led by Sune Toft of the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI), University of Copenhagen, Denmark used the Hubble Space Telescope and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to gather information about MACS 2129-1. The result is that no new stars are being formed and this is really surprising because it’s very far away so we see it as it was at a time when the universe was at the highest rate of star production.