June 2018

Artist's impression of ‘Oumuamua with its emissions (Image ESA/Hubble, NASA, ESO, M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua whose authors believe that after all it’s a comet as its discoverers initially thought. A team of researchers led by Marco Micheli from the ESA SSA-NEO Coordination Center in Frascati, Italy, used observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope and various ground-based telescopes to follow ‘Oumuamua’s trajectory finding that it was different from the one calculated taking into account the various gravitational influences. The conclusion is that there’s a cometary activity that generates an additional boost.

The Dragon space cargo ship blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket in its CRS-15 mission (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-15 (Cargo Resupply Service 15) mission, also referred to as SPX-15. After just over ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and went en route. This is the 15th mission for the Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station with various cargoes and then return to Earth, again with various cargoes.

The TMC1A system

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes the discovery that dust particles in a disk surrounding a protostar start coagulating even before the star has completed its formation. A team of researchers used the ALMA radio telescope to study the system in formation TMC1A noting the lack of radiation from carbon monoxide near the protostar. Their conclusion is that large dust particles are blocking those radiations, an important discovery because it means that in the disk of gas and dust the processes that will lead to the formation of planets have already begun.

Asteroid Ryugu

The Japanese space agency JAXA has confirmed that its space probe Hayabusa 2 has reached the asteroid Ryugu. It’s now at an altitude of about 20 kilometers and from there it will begin a series of observations of the surface in order to find the most suitable area to land. That maneuver will take place in October 2018 at a date yet to be determined.

MRK 1216

An article to be published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research on isolated galaxies with a mass similar to the first elliptical galaxies but much smaller in which the central supermassive black hole inhibited stellar formation and grew more than normal. A team of researchers used data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to examine the galaxies MRK 1216 and PGC 032873, nicknamed red nuggets, relics of the first massive galaxies that formed in the first billion years after the Big Bang.