Artistic impression of the VFTS 352 stars (Image ESO/L. Calçada)

An article published in “Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on a couple of very special stars. The binary system called VFTS 352 is in fact composed of two stars that are touching and these stars are the largest discovered to date in this situation. An international team of astronomers used ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) to observe this double star, also to try to understand what kind of development could have.

Artist's impression of innumerable Earth-like planets that have yet to be born (Image NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI))

An article just published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research on the history and future of the formation of Earth-like planets. A team led by Peter Behroozi of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) used data collected by the Hubble and Kepler space telescopes to evaluate the rate of formation of the Earth-like planets. The conclusion is that only 8% of potentially habitable planets existed at the birth of our solar system.

Two pictures of Jupiter's surface taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (Image NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M. Wong (UC Berkeley), and G. Orton (JPL-Caltech))

The Hubble Space Telescope was used to create new maps of the planet Jupiter. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured a series of images of the planet within the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy program. The aim is to produce new maps every year and in the case of Jupiter 10 hours of daily shooting made it possible to discover new phenomena including changes in the Great Red Spot.

Picture of the Menzel 2 nebula taken by the Hubble space telescope (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA, acknowledgement: Serge Meunier)

The Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of the planetary nebula PK 329-02.2, also known as ESO 178-15 or Hen 2-150 and commonly called Menzel 2 (Mz 2) because it was discovered by the astronomer Donald Menzel in 1922. Distant little more 7,700 light years from Earth, it’s visible in the constellation Norma and is another case in which a planetary nebula offers a breathtaking show, in this case with a blue cloud that aligns with the two stars at its center.

Images of the dust disk around the star AU Microscopii taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and SPHERE (Image NASA, ESA, ESO, A. Boccaletti (Paris Observatory))

An article just published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of mysterious ripples across the disk of dust surrounding the star AU Microscopii, or AU Mic. Through SPHERE, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, a team led by Anthony Boccaletti, LESIA (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Paris-Diderot), France, discovered these structures never seen before and yet to be explained.