2018

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.

The Milky Way's halo in the Pan-Starrs1 map (Image courtesy Giuseppina Battaglia (Iac))

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a research on a group of red giant stars located in the halo surrounding the Milky Way. A team of astronomers led by Giuseppina Battaglia of the Istituto de Astrofísica de Canarias examined the composition of a 28-star sample discovering that the presence of some chemical elements is quite different from the halo’s innermost regions. The conclusion is that they were not born in our galaxy but in ancient dwarf galaxies that were absorbed by the Milky Way.

El Gordo (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS)

A photo of the galaxy cluster ACT-CL J0102-4915 captured by the Hubble Space Telescope provides a small idea of ​​the vastness of this set of galaxies that has a total mass estimated at 3 million billion times the Sun’s. For this reason it’s been nicknamed “El Gordo”, which in Spanish means “the fat one”. It intensly emits X-rays and that’s another reason of interest for astronomers that led to observe it, discovering that it’s actually formed by two smaller – or less enormous – galaxy clusters that collided.