July 2020

The area around the Per-emb-2 (IRAS 03292+3039) system, indicated by the box

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” reports the first observation of a pair of protostars in the Perseus molecular cloud fed by a flow of gas and various compounds that formed in the parent cloud. A team of researchers led by Jaime Pineda of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) used the Northern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) to study the protostellar binary system cataloged as Per-emb-2 (IRAS 03292+3039). They called that flow of gas and compounds a streamer tracing its movement from the boundaries of the parent cloud to its core, near the protostars. This also helps to better assess the importance of the local environment on the formation and evolution of disks in the systems in formation from which planets could be born.

Mars Rover Perseverance and Mars Helicopter Ingenuity blasting off atop an Atlas V 541 rocket (Image NASA)

A little while ago NASA’s Mars 2020 mission blasted off atop an Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Almost 58 minutes after launch, the spacecraft regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage went en route to the planet Mars, where is scheduled to enter its orbit in February 2021. There, the Mars Rover Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter will land on the red planet.

The galaxy NGC 4414 (Image University of Oregon)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” reports a calculation of the universe expansion rate based on the so-called Tully-Fisher relation, an empirical relationship between the intrinsic brightness of a spiral galaxy and its asymptotic rotation velocity. Professor James Schombert, Stacy McGaugh, and Federico Lelli used the accurate distances of 50 galaxies as a guide to measure the distances of 95 other galaxies and then use those measurements to obtain a measure of the so-called Hubble Constant which has a peak of probability at 75.1 kilometers per second per megaparsec. This measure is very different from those obtained with other methods and, as a consequence, indicates that the universe is approximately 12.6 billion years old compared to approximately 13.8 billion obtained from other research.

IIE iron meteorite sample (Photo courtesy Carl Agee, Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports the results of sophisticated analyzes indicating that IIE iron meteorites are fragments of a planetesimal that had a differentiated structure. A team of researchers conducted various types of tests that gave these results about meteorites called achondrites, composed of materials that were subjected to melting, differentiation, and crystallization. The difference compared to chondrites, meteorites composed of undifferentiated materials, shows that the objects they come from formed and evolved in different ways in space and time.

The Progress MS-15 cargo spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (Image NASA)

A few hours ago the Progress MS-15 spacecraft blasted off atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about nine minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage and was placed on its ultra-fast track in its resupply mission to the International Space Station also called Progress 76 or 76P. After almost 3.5 hours it reached the International Space Station docking with its Pirs module. There was a moment of uncertainty because the cargo freighter was berthing with a misalignment, but the problem was quickly resolved.