Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about Astronomy and Astrophysics

RX J1347.5-1145 galaxy cluster (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/T. Kitayama (Toho University, Japan)/ESA/Hubble & NASA)

The ALMA radio telescope was used for the first time to measure the thermal Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Effect aiming it at the RX J1347.5-1145 galaxy cluster, located about 5 billion light years from Earth. This effect is due to the photons from the cosmic microwave background radiation that interact with high-energy electrons because of their temperature. Those measurements are useful to obtain information on the location and distribution of dense galactic clusters such as the one studied in this case.

Simulation of a planet collision and the birth of a moon (Image courtesy Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research about the possible formation of large moons following the collision of two planets. Megan Bruk Syal and Amy Barr of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conducted a series of simulations to understand what factors influence the birth of big moons. This study offers new hope in the search for exomoons orbiting exoplanets studied with NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Area around Ernutet Crater. In pink the organic materials (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the detection of organic materials on the dwarf planet Ceres. A team of researchers coordinated by Maria Cristina De Sanctis of the National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy, used data collected by the VIR spectrometer of NASA’s Dawn space probe to identify aliphatic compounds, one of the two classes of organic materials.

Active galaxy in the heart of the Phoenix Cluster with its jets (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) H.Russell, et al.; NASA/ESA Hubble; NASA/CXC/MIT/M.McDonald et al.; B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF))

An article published in “Astrophysical Journal” describes a research showing a link between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy that hosts it. A team of researchers used the ALMA radio telescope to study a galaxy in the heart of the Phoenix Cluster which has at its core a supermassive black hole that emits electromagnetic radiation jets that are stimulating the birth of new stars.

Mercury's north pole. In red the area in shadow. In yellow the ice. (Image NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory. Updated from N. L. Chabot et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 117)

An article published in the journal “Icarus” describes a study on the water ice existing in the shadow of several craters of the planet Mercury that aimed to estimate tis amount, which could be much higher than that predicted with glaciers tens of meters thick. The estimates are still approximate and there are still a number of hypotheses about the origin of that water.