Astronomy / Astrophysics

Photo of Enceladus' northern region showing the contrast between its areas (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

Some days ago, the Cassini space probe completed its last Enceladus flyby. It’s a Saturn’s moon very interesting for the presence of an underground ocean of liquid water. This time, Cassini passed about 5,000 kilometers (about 3,100 miles) from Enceladus measuring the heat flow from inside it and taking more pictures of its icy surface.

Galaxy NGC 1068 seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. In the circle there's an artist concept of the doughnut of gas and dust surrounding the supermassive black hole at its center (ImageNASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society letters” describes a research on the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy NGC 1068. An international team of astronomers led by Andrea Marinucci of the Roma Tre University in Italy used ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes to study the giant doughnut-shaped structure around the supermassive black hole.

Image showing the observations of the supernova SN Refsdal. In the uppermost circle there's the possible observation happened in 1998, in the middle circe the 2015 observation and in the lowermost circle the 2014 observation

The Hubble Space Telescope allowed us to observe a supernova just during the explosion. This is due to the fact that its appearance was foretold. For the first time, the use of complex calculations related to the theory of relativity made it possible to capture the supernova nicknamed Refsdal when it exploded. It’s the first time such a feat was achieved by exploiting the gravitational lensing of that galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5 + 2223, which bent the light from that star showing the explosion several times in different areas of the sky.

Artistic representation of the ten hot Jupiters examined in this research (Image NASA, ESA, and D. Sing (University of Exeter))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research that provides an explanation to the apparent scarcity of water detected on some exoplanets of the type known as hot Jupiter. These are gas giants like Jupiter but orbit very close to their stars and consequently have very high surface temperatures. An international team of astronomers used the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to study ten exoplanets of this kind.

Occator Crater in falso colors stressing the white spots (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Two studies published in the journal “Nature” offered new interesting information about the dwarf planet Ceres. Thanks to analyzes of data collected by NASA’s Dawn space probe the authors of these studies claim that the mysterious white spots are composed of salts and that on Ceres there are ammonia-rich clays. The explanations about the materials that make up the white spots may solve a mystery while the presence of ammonia creates another, linked to the origin of this dwarf planet.