May 2021

Radio-infrared overlay of the W49A molecular cloud. (Image DePree, et al.; Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; Spitzer/NASA)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” reports the study of a nursery of stars in the great molecular cloud cataloged as W49A. A team of astronomers led by Professor Christopher De Pree of Agnes Scott College compared new observations conducted with the VLA (Very Large Array) at infrareds and radio waves of ​​W49A’s central area with observations conducted with the same radio telescope between 1994 and 1995. The result is the identification of new activities with supersonic gas movements in three regions and a high-speed jet in one region.

The Starship SN15 prototype blasting off (Image courtesy SpaceX)

It was yesterday afternoon in Boca Chica, Texas, when SpaceX conducted the flight test of the Starship prototype identified as SN15, the fifth after the one conducted on March 30, 2021. Clouds and some problems with the signal from the onboard cameras prevented seeing the various maneuvers performed by SN15 but the important thing is that it managed to land successfully without suffering damage that could cause its explosion. Flames were seen at the base of SN15 but got extinguished.

The PDS 70 system seen by Hubble

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the first estimates of the growth of a young gas giant exoplanet. A team of researchers used observations conducted with the Hubble Space Telescope of the exoplanet PDS 70b exploiting its sensitivity to ultraviolets emitted by hot gas that gets swallowed by the young giant. This study opens the door to new possibilities for estimating the growth of gas giant planets.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft on the Go Navigator ship (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft ended its Crew-1, or SpaceX Crew-1, mission on behalf of NASA by splashing down without problems. Onboard were astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, who finished SpaceX’s first regular crewed mission in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Panama City, Florida. The Crew Dragon left the International Space Station about 6.5 hours earlier. Shortly after splashing down, the SpaceX ship called “Go Navigator” went to retrieve the Crew Dragon and its crew to transport them to the coast.