Astronomy / Astrophysics

Artistic concept of stars in their formation stage (Image courtesy Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF. All rights reserved)

At the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Kissimmee, Florida, astronomers presented the results of research that aims to understand how come the multiple systems of stars and planets from the material on the disks of dust around new stars. The radio telescope Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) was used to study almost one hundred newborn stars in the Perseus molecular cloud to try to answer these questions.

The galaxy NGC 4845 photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast))

The Hubble Space Telescope took a photograph of the galaxy NGC 4845. At its core, it contains a supermassive black hole, a fact now considered normal but that can be detected only indirectly, through the gravitational effects on stars near to the galactic core. During the observations, it swhoed a remarkable appetite as in 2013 it swallowed in a short time a mass several times that of the planet Jupiter.

The galaxy NGC 6052 photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt)

NGC 6052 is a galaxy apparently abnormal because of its odd shape. It was initially classified in that way but later astronomers realized that it’s actually the result of an ongoing merger of two galaxies with similar masses. The Hubble space telescope was used to take a picture of NGC 6052 with its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), which includes observations in visible and ultraviolet light.

The quasar Q2237+0305 nicknamed Einstein Cross photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope (Image NASA, ESA, and STScI)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a research on the quasar Q2237+0305 nicknamed Einstein Cross or Einstein’s Cross. Through the technique of gravitational microlensing a team of Spanish astrophysicists carried out the most accurate measures of the innermost region belonging to the disc of materials spinning around the supermassive black hole that feeds this quasar.

Picture of the area called Gerber Catena with its craters, depression and fractures (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Nearly three weeks ago NASA’s Dawn space probe reached its final orbit, at an altitude of about 380 kilometers (240 miles) over the dwarf planet Ceres. It will remain there indefinitely, meaning that it will keep that orbit until the end of its mission but at that point it won’t be moved. It’s its lowest orbit and from there Dawn immediately started taking the most detailed pictures and make new detections with its instruments.