Telescopes

The Nili Fossae (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published new photos of the region on planet Mars called Nili Fossae taken by its Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The Nili Fossae are a group of tectonic depressions called graben that show signs not only of geological activity but also of erosion by winds and especially by water that dug the shapes still visible today.

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a new research on the possible climate existing on the seven rocky planets of the star TRAPPIST-1’s system. A team of astronomers coordinated by the University of Washington (UW) used updated climate models to try to understand what kind of atmospheres they can have as a result of environmental evolution based on the observations collected. The result is that the planet TRAPPIST-1 e is the one most likely to have liquid water on its surface.

The star HD 186302 at the center (Image courtesy CDS Portal/Simbad)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the discovery of a twin star of the Sun. It’s HD 186302, studied by a team of researchers led by Vardan Adibekyan of the Instituto de Astrofísica and Ciências do Espaço (IA), in Portugal, starting from the data collected by the AMBRE project that collected about 230,000 star spectra, along with other data collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe. HD 186302 is really similar to the Sun not only as an age and chemical composition but also in mass and size and this offers hopes that it has planets similar to the Earth.

The brightest known galaxy is devouring its neighbors

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a study of the galaxy W2246-0526, the brightest known. A team of researchers used the ALMA radio telescope to examine it by uncovering streams of materials as they are stripped from three smaller galaxies orbiting it. In one case a “tidal tail” is generated, a large stram of materials that connects W2246-0526 with one of its satellites. According to an article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” the supermassive black hole at its center has a mass that’s about 4 billion times the Sun’s.

Artist's concept of Barnard's Star and its planet Barnard’s Star b (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article (link to PDF file) published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of a possible super-Earth orbiting the Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf that in astronomical terms is in the neighborhood being about 6 light years away from the Earth. The Red Dots and CARMENES projects led to the discovery of what was named Barnard’s Star b and could be the second exoplanet closest to the solar system after Proxima b.