January 2018

Artist's concept of PSR J0348+0432 and its companion (Image ESO/L. Cal├žada)

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the calculation of the maximum mass that a neutron star can reach. A team of astrophysicists from the Goethe University Frankfurt exploited what are considered universal relations between stars of that type and data collected in the event that saw the merger of two neutron stars observed at both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves to establish that a non-rotating neutron star can’t exceed 2.16 solar masses.

The galaxies SDSS J1354+1327 and SDSS J1354+1328 (Image NASA , ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder))

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the observation of two events consisting of a supermassive black hole that swallowed large amounts of gas and then emits a part of them in the form of very high-energy jets. A team of astronomers led by Julie Comerford of the University of Colorado at Boulder used observations made with various telescopes to capture this repeated activity at the center of a galaxy known as SDSS J1354+1327 or simply J1354.

The early galaxies observed by ALMA in the sky observed by Hubble (Image Hubble (NASA/ESA), ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Oesch (University of Geneva) and R. Smit (University of Cambridge))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the first observation of the movement of gas inside two small newborn galaxies about 13 billion light years away from Earth. A team led by the Dutch astronomer Renske Smit of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, UK, used the ALMA radio telescope to detect the processes underway in those early galaxies, verifying that the gas moves similarly to galaxies such as Milky Way. These results were also presented at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held this week.

Underground ice exposed at the steep slope that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the discovery of eight areas on the planet Mars where soil erosion revealed the presence of large glaciers. A team of researchers located and studied the areas thanks to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) space probe’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. The slopes generated by erosion offer new information on those glaciers’ stratified structure and consequently on the red planet’s climate history.