Astronomy / Astrophysics

A strange dim and fast supernova

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the study of a supernova cataloged as iPTF 14gqr which had a very short duration emitting a relatively dim light and ejecting a limited amount of materials. A team of researchers studied this out-of-the-ordinary supernova using observations from the Palomar Observatory and other telescopes concluding that probably the fault is of a companion, a neutron star that attracted many layers of the dying star, limiting its explosion. The supernova probably produced another neutron star forming a binary system of which in the distant future we might see the merger.

Saturn and Titan with the haze in the moon's atmosphere in the inset (Image NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Space Science Institute, Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a possible way for the molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form at the very low temperatures existing on Titan, Saturn’s big moon. A team of researchers carried out experiments and simulations to understand how certain complex molecules could form in the haze layers in Titan’s atmosphere when in theory they required much higher temperatures. The result is the discovery that the presence of two gases can produce that type of molecules even at very low temperatures.

CK Vulpeculae seen by ALMA (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/S. P. S. Eyres)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research on CK Vulpeculae (CK Vul), a nova that was well documented between 1670 and 1672 that left a bipolar nebula. A team of researchers led by Stewart Eyres of the University of South Wales used the ALMA radio telescope to analyze that explosion’s remnants, concluding that it was caused by the collision between a white dwarf and a brown dwarf, the first anomalous nova of this type identified.

Graphics showing heliosphere with the Voyager probes' positions (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA announced that its Voyager 2 space probe could be close to interstellar space. Approximately 17.7 billion kilometers (almost 11 billion miles) from the Sun, it detected an increase in cosmic rays coming from outside the solar system, one of the criteria already used in the past to assess whether its twin Voyager 1 had reached interstellar space, an event confirmed in September 2013. The route of the two probes is different and is the reason why one of the two probes is farther than the other and the heliosphere doesn’t have a fixed size so NASA’s monitoring is continuing but there are no certainties yet.

Artist's concept of the planet Kepler-1625b with its moon and its star in the background (Image NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI))

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” presents the evidence of the existence of a exomoon, a moon orbiting a planet of another solar system, named Kepler-1625b-I. David Kipping and Alex Teachey of Columbia University used observations of the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes to examine the traces left by the exoplanet Kepler-1625b in front of its star, similar to the Sun. The first indications of the discovery of the exomoon candidate were revealed in July 2017, follow-up observations carried out with the Hubble Space Telescope provided new confirmations.