Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about Astronomy and Astrophysics

New estimates of Saturn's characteristics include the age of its rings

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a research on the planet Saturn that includes an analysis of its internal structure but also on its evolution, which includes its rings’. A team of researchers led by Luciano Iess of the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, used data collected by the Cassini space probe to determine that the winds on Saturn reach a depth of about 9,000 kilometers and that the rings were formed not more than 100 million years ago.

A rare hypernova shows the possible death of a very massive star

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the observation of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) cataloged as GRB 171205A associated with a supernova cataloged as SN 2017iuk that was tens of times brighter than that type of event generally is, so as to fall into the category of hypernovae. A team of astronomers led by Luca Izzo of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) detected for the first time interaction between the jet that caused the GRB and the outer layers of the exploded star. This allowed to better understand the mechanisms that combine hypernovae and gamma-ray bursts, connected to a “hot cocoon”.

SN 2015 cp is a rare type Ia supernova

An article accepted for publication in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the discovery of a type Ia supernova, cataloged as SN 2015 cp. A team of astronomers led by Melissa Graham of the University of Washington used observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope and others to study a binary system in which a star that could be a red giant ejected huge amounts of materials and a part reached its companion, a white dwarf, causing its explosion.

A cosmic explosion has different interpretations

Two articles, one to be published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” and one in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society”, describe studies of an anomalous event and an object cataloged as AT2018cow and therefore nicknamed “The Cow”. According to a team led by Raffaella Margutti of Northwestern University, who produced the article to be published in “The Astrophysical Journal”, it could be an anomalous supernova, tens of times brighter than normal that generated a black hole or a neutron star, while another team led by Paul Kuin of University College London (UCL), who produced the article to be published in “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society”, it could be a black hole that destroyed a star.

Brightest quasar in the early universe discovered

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal Letters” reports the discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe. A team of researchers used observations of the Hubble Space Telescope and some ground-based telescopes to identify the galaxy cataloged as J043947.08+163415.7 at a distance of about 12.8 billion light years from the Earth. The supermassive black hole at its center is surrounded by a lot of materials that emit the huge amount of light that allows it to be identified even at that enormous distance, but only thanks to a gravitational lensing effect. That activity dates back almost a billion years after the Big Bang.