Telescopes

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.

The Indian government has signed the agreement that allows the country into the SKA Organisation and will from now on be fully involved in the development of the SKA radio telescope. India joins Australia, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom in the task of the SKA into an intergovernmental organization with a treaty to formalize the relationship between the project and its members.

Astrosat blasting off atop a PSLV-XL rocket (Photo courtesy ISRO. All rights reserved)

A few hours ago the Astrosat space observatory was launched on a PSLV-XL rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the flight listed as PSLV-C30 by ISRO, the Indian space agency. After about 22 minutes Astrosat regularly separated from the rocket’s upper stage to enter an orbit close to the equator at an altitude of about 650 kilometers (about 400 miles). Along with it six satellites were launched for customers of different nations: the Indonesian Lapan-A2 microsatellite, the Canadian NLS-14 (EV9) microsatellite and four USA LEMUR nanosatellites.

A still frame from a movie showing an active galactic nucleus (Image NASA / Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital)

An article in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a study of the galaxy SAGE0536AGN and in particular the supermassive black hole at its center, which is 30 times larger than expected. This is the result of measurements conducted by a team of astronomers at Keele University and the University of Central Lancashire, an anomaly all to explain.