Astronomy / Astrophysics

The Astro-E2, then renamed Suzaku, satellite during its test phase (Photo NASA)

In recent days, the Japanese Suzaku space observatory has been deactivated. On August 26, 2015, JAXA, the Japanese space agency, communicated the decision to terminate the mission of this satellite specialized in X-ray astronomy. Communications between the mission control center and Suzaku had become intermittent since June 1, 2015 and JAXA, after trying to restore them, decided to start the deactivation procedures.

Composition of multiwavelength images of the galaxy cluster Abell 1033 and the surrounding area (Image NASA/CXC/Univ of Hamburg/F. de Gasperin et al; Optical: SDSS; Radio: NRAO/VLA)

An article in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research on the galactic cluster Abell 1033. Combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands, NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a team of astronomers reconstructed the history of a cloud of electrons at the cluster’s center. It was reignited after a cosmic collision and for this reason it’s been compared to the legendary phoenix.

On the left a picture of the Sun taken by the SDO space probe, at the center a close-up of a prominence and on the right a picture of the Earth in the same scale (Image NASA/JAXA/NAOJ)

Two articles published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describe a study of what is known as the coronal heating problem. For decades, scientists have been trying to understand why the temperature on the surface of the Sun is about 6,000 Kelvin while the corona, the region between the surface and the area of ​​the outer atmosphere, can reach temperatures of several million degrees. Now a team of researchers led by Takenori Okamoto of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory at Nagoya University and ISAS/JAXA and Patrick Antolin of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Tokyo, offers an explanation, tied to resonant absorption.

Picture of the lonly mountain on Ceres taken by the Dawn space probe (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is carrying out a mapping of the dwarf planet Ceres and with its camera is capturing extraordinary images better than those available so far, with a resolution of 140 meters (450 feet) per pixel. Among the geological features photographed there’s a mountain about 6 kilometers (4 miles) high that had already intrigued scientists and public because it looks like a pyramid and its sides are covered with brilliant material.