Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about Astronomy and Astrophysics

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.

Cyclones at Jupiter's north pole (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

Four articles published in the journal “Nature” describe as many researches on the planet Jupiter. Different teams of researchers focused on different phenomena using data collected by NASA’s Juno space probe. The researches concerns groups of huge cyclones present in Jupiter’s polar regions, wind flows that extend up to thousands of kilometers of depth, the stripes of the atmosphere that rotate at different speeds and the asymmetries in the planet’s gravitational field.