June 2018

The galaxies Arp 299A and Arp 299B and the tidal disruption event

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the discovery of a star destroyed by a supermassive black hole in what in jargon is called a tidal disruption event. A team of astronomers used various telescopes searching for supernovae in Arp 299, an object generated by two merging galaxies, but in one case they came to realize that the phenomenon in progress was not an explosion but the destruction of the star under observation.

A representation of the data collected with OSIRIS

During the 232nd American Astronomical Society Meeting, a team of researchers led by Anna Ciurlo of UCLA presented the results of a research on what were called G-objects. They look like dust clouds but act like stars and move very fast in the area around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Using data collected over the past 12 years by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the researchers concluded that these are bloated stars, so large that the black hole steal their materials from them.

Artist's concept of nanodiamonds in a protoplanetary disk (Image courtesy S. Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes the detection of nanodiamonds around three newborn star systems in the Milky Way. A team of researchers led by astronomer Jane Greaves of the Welsh University of Cardiff used the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to observe the V892 Tau system and the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) to observe the HD 97048 and MWC 297 systems obtaining the first clear detections of anomalous microwave emissions (AMEs) concluding that the nanodiamonds are their source.

Artist's concept of lightning distribution in Jupiter's northern hemisphere (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/JunoCam)

Two articles, one published in the journal “Nature” and one published in “Nature Astronomy”, describe two researches on Jovian lightning. A team led by Shannon Brown of NASA’s JPL described the ways in which lightning strikes on the planet Jupiter are similar to those on Earth even if they’re someway the opposite. Another team led by Ivana Kolmašová of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague created the largest database of low-frequency radio emissions generated by lightning strikes on Jupiter, called in jargon whistlers. In both cases, the researchers used data collected by NASA’s Juno space probe.

The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, which blasted off about two days ago from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, has reached the International Space Station carrying three new crew members. The astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA and the cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos now complete the Expedition 55 crew.