2018

Map of high-energy Gamma Rays (Image NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a research that indicates the origin in an anomalous gamma-ray source detected for the first time in 2009 by the NASA’s Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. One of the hypotheses concerned collisions of dark matter particles, instead according to a team of astronomers there are millisecond pulsars in the nucleus of the Milky Way whose emissions mixed up in the signal detected by Fermi.

Crater Juling (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/ASI/INAF)

Two articles published in the journal “Science Advances” describe two researches connected in different ways but linked to the presence of water on the dwarf planet Ceres. Two teams of researchers, but with many members in common, led by scientists from the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) in Rome, Italy, used observations made by the VIR spectrometer on board NASA’s Dawn space probe to find evidence of the presence of ice of water in Crater Juling and to map the distribution of carbonates, salts whose origin is linked to the presence of liquid water, on Ceres.

Artist's concept of New Horizon's Ultuma Thule flyby (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Steve Gribben)

NASA has announced that it chose Ultima Thule as a nickname for 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt Object that represents the next target for its New Horizons space probe. In recent months, the mission team asked for suggestions on the Internet and then opened a ballot allowing to select the favorite among the nicknames selected among the thousands of proposals. The result is not an official name, which must be ratified by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), because it’s not clear if Ultima Thule is a single object.

Illustration of exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” shows the confirmation of 15 exoplanets that orbit red dwarfs. A team of researchers led by Teruyuki Hirano from the Tokyo Institute of Technology used data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and follow-up observations. Another article in the same journal focuses on 3 confirmed super-Earths including K2-155d, which could be in ​​its system’s habitable zone.

The Orion Nebula

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a new study of the Orion Nebula. A combination of observations made with the ALMA radio telescope, the 30-meter IRAM telescope and the HAWK-I instrument installed on ESO’s VLT allowed the creation of a unique image of the Orion Nebula. It’s an area of ​​space in which there are various molecular clouds where gas concentrations give life to new stars in processes that can be best studied by putting together the data collected at different electromagnetic frequencies.