Telescopes

Structures at the center of the Milky Way seen by Chandra and MeerKAT

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” reports a study of the center of the Milky Way that reveals the presence of superheated gas threads and magnetic fields. Astronomer Q. Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst combined the results of 370 observations of various parts of that area conducted with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory adding observations conducted using the MeerKAT radio telescope. The results suggest the possibility of ongoing processes that could be due to an unknown energy source in the galactic center.

Deep field image (Image Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Acknowledgments: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab))

29 articles report various aspects of the results of a major cosmological research on the largest sample of galaxies – 226 million of them – ever observed to produce the most accurate measurements of the composition and growth of the universe. More than 400 scientists from the DES (Dark Energy Survey) Collaboration used images captured by the Dark Energy Camera in the first three years of the program, which started in 2013, to obtain results. The goal is to improve our knowledge of the universe, in particular, the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

The distribution of the 36 dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the discovery of 36 dwarf galaxies that are simultaneously showing signs of the start of remarkable star-forming activity. A team of researchers examined a group of dwarf galaxies observed during the ANGST survey noting a simultaneous acceleration in star-forming activity despite the fact that they’re separated even by several million light-years. This is a phenomenon that has no explanation in current models of galaxy evolution.

The likely galaxies where the origins of fast radio bursts cataloged as FRB 190714 (top) and FRB 180924 (bottom) was located

An article to be published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the location of the origin of eight fast radio bursts (FRBs) detected between 2017 and 2020. A team of researchers coordinated by the University of California at Santa Cruz used the Hubble Space Telescope to accomplish this task by applying a method already used to pinpoint the origin of other cosmic phenomena such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. This result offers new information on an extremely energetic phenomenon such as fast radio bursts, which emit an amount of energy in a millisecond comparable to the amount the Sun emits in a year. The results of this study are compatible with the theory that links them to magnetars.

Comet C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS) and its spectrum (Image ESO/L. Calçada, SPECULOOS Team/E. Jehin, Manfroid et al.)

Two articles published in the journal “Nature” report different studies on the materials present in the atmospheres of comets, which appear to contain iron and nickel even in the ones far from the Sun. Jean Manfroid, Damien Hutsemekers, and Emmanuel Jehin used data collected by the UVES spectrograph of ESO’s VLT in Chile to analyze the atmospheres of various comets detecting the presence of both iron and nickel. Piotr Guzik and Michał Drahus used the X-shooter spectrograph, also of the VLT, to examine in particular the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov detecting the presence of nickel. They were surprising results because the sublimation of heavy metals was thought possible only near the Sun.