Blogs about telescopes and astronomical observations instruments

The first Earth-sized exoplanet identified thanks to the TESS space telescope

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” reports the discovery of two exoplanets in the orange star HD 21749’s system, one of which is the first Earth-sized identified thanks to NASA’s TESS space telescope and the other a Mini-Neptune. A team of researchers led by Diana Dragomir already submitted a first version of the article on the exoplanet HD 21749b, the Mini-Neptune also referred to as TOI 186.01, mentioning as candidate TOI 186.02 the rocky exoplanet now referred to as HD 21749c in the new version of the article in which it’s considered confirmed.

The area surrounding the supermassive black hole in the Virgo A galaxy (Image EHT Collaboration)

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project with representatives of ALMA and APEX radio telescope researchers held a press conference, one of many held in the world to present the first EHT results. A project that for two years engaged a series of radio telescopes from around the world to combine their observations had the aim of peering directly into the environment surrounding a black hole and in particular the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*, and the one at the center of the Virgo A galaxy.

Artist's concept of a planetesimal orbiting the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 (Image courtesy University of Warwick/Mark Garlick)

An article published in the journal “Science” reports the discovery of what’s probably a fragment of a planet that orbits a white dwarf. A team of researchers led by the British University of Warwick used the Gran Telescopio Canarias of La Palma to study the debris disk that surrounds the white dwarf cataloged as SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 detecting anomalies in the emission lines that have been interpreted as the result of the presence of what has been called a planetesimal orbiting the star in about two hours.

A giant molecular cloud in which massive stars are forming studied with the SOFIA flying telescope

The SOFIA flying telescope was used to study a giant molecular cloud that is a star-forming area cataloged as W51 in order to analyze the newly formed or still forming stars within it. The researchers combined the observations made with SOFIA with those made over time with NASA’s Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes to obtain more complete information on those stars. There was a particular interest in the massive stars and one of them seems really huge, with a mass estimated at about 100 times the Sun’s. If that estimate is confirmed by follow-up observations it’s one of the most massive stars in formation in the Milky Way.

Artist's concept of the exoplanet HR 8799 e (Image ESO/L. Cal├žada)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy and Astrophysics” reports the first direct observation of an exoplanet using the technique of optical interferometry. The GRAVITY collaboration, so called because the researchers who belong to it manage the work of the instrument with the same name installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), observed the exoplanet HR 8799 e, a super-Jupiter that has a atmosphere containing clouds rich in iron and silicates that swirl around in a storm that crosses the entire planet.