Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Cerberus Fossae (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published photos taken by its Mars Express space probe of the Cerberus Fossae, fractures that run almost parallel for more than 1,000 kilometers in the area near the equator of the planet Mars. They’re part of a large volcanic complex called Elysium Planitia, where traces suggest that lava flows date back a few million years ago, recent in geological terms compared to the bulk of volcanic activity. The Cerberus Fossae were also formed relatively recently, less than 10 million years ago, probably originated from faults that stretched the upper layers of the surface apart.

Two objects in the Epsilon Indi system at the limit between star and brown dwarf

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on the brown dwarfs in the Epsilon Indi system in connection with the mass limits for this type of objects. A team of researchers combined the data obtained from various observations to re-estimate the two brown dwarfs masses, which were found to be 75.0 ± 0.82 and 70.1 ± 0.68 times the mass of the planet Jupiter. These are much higher masses than previous estimates and at least the largest one has a mass that according to the theoretical models is that of a star offering new information to understand where are the limits between these objects.

The images captured by TESS (NASA/MIT/TESS)

NASA has published a series of images captured by its TESS space telescope’s cameras. These are the first scientific images, that in jargon are called the first light, obtained on August 7, 2018 after the instrument testing period and show the southern sky. The images portray an amount of stars and other objects among which systems where exoplanets were already found. However, the main goal is to discover new exoplanets.

A possible pulsar formed after a long-duration supernova

An article published in the “Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a study on the supernova Sn 2012au. Sometimes supernovae remain bright for a long time if the remnants of the explosion collide with hydrogen layers, but Dan Milisavljevic of Purdue University wondered if this could happen without any interaction of that kind. His team studied Sn 2012au concluding that after the supernova a neutron star of the pulsar type was formed with a rotation and a magnetic field sufficient to create a cloud of gas around it, called in jargon a pulsar wind nebula.

The galaxy cluster Abell 370 (Image NASA, ESA, A. Koekemoer, M. Jauzac, C. Steinhardt, and the BUFFALO team)

The first Hubble Space Telescope’s observations in the new BUFFALO project have been published. Its goal is to shed light on the evolution of the first galaxies of the universe, also to establish the most interesting observation targets for the James Webb space telescope. The Abell 370 galaxy cluster is the first to be studied for this new survey together with a series of galaxies seen through gravitational lenses.