October 2019

Artist's concept of exoplanet near its star (Image ESA)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the study of exoplanets that orbit two red giant stars: HD 212771 and HD 203949. A team of researchers led by Tiago Campante of the Instituto de Astrofísica and Ciências do Espaço (IA) of the University of Lisbon, Portugal, applied the astrosismology technique to observations conducted with NASA’s TESS space telescope. The result was surprising in the case of the HD 203949 system because the planet wasn’t swallowed by the star during its expansion even though it orbited very close to it.

Asteroid Hygiea is spherical and could be reclassified as a dwarf planet

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” reports a study of asteroid Hygiea that shows its roughly spherical shape, one of the requirements to be cataloged as a dwarf planet. A team of researchers led by Pierre Vernazza of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique of Marseille, France, used the SPHERE instrument mounted on ESO’s VLT in Chile to obtain detailed images of one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. If Hygiea were reclassified, it would be the smallest dwarf planet with a diameter that is less than half that of Ceres.

A map of the four galaxy clusters merging in Abell 1758

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports a study on Abell 1758, a quadruple galaxy cluster formed by two pairs that are in different merger phases. A team of researchers used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes to map this gigantic group of galaxies. Each pair is made up of hundreds of galaxies embedded in enormous amounts of hot gas and invisible dark matter. These accurate observations will help to better assess how long it will take for mergers to occur in the two pairs of clusters, which in the future will in turn merge to form a super cluster that will be one of the most massive objects in the universe.

Artist's concept of a planetary collision in the BD +20 307 system (Image NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports a study of the BD +20 307 binary system in which the presence of dust too warm to be the equivalent of the Kuiper belt was detected, therefore they have been interpreted as the remains of a planetary collision. A team of researchers led by Maggie Thompson of the University of California at Santa Cruz used the SOFIA flying telescope to detect infrared emissions, which increased over time.

Jeff Bezos during hls announcement (Photo courtesy Blue Origin. All rights reserved)

Yesterday, at the International Astronautical Congress 2019 being held in Washington, D.C., Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder, announced an alliance of his company with other aerospace giants to work together within NASA’s Artemis program and bring humans back to the Moon by 2024. At the base of the solution he proposed, called Human Landing System, there’s the Blue Moon lunar lander unveiled by Bezos himself in May 2019.