Telescopes

Artist impression of the protoplanetary disc surrounding the young star MWC 480. ALMA has detected the complex organic molecule methyl cyanide in its outer reaches (Image B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF))

For many years, scientists have known that complex molecules can form in space, including some important in the birth of life forms. This month, two studies have been published that prove the presence of various molecules of this type in an infant solar system and even in protostellar clouds in which Sun-like stars are formed together with their planets.

Supernova in the galaxy M82 captured by the Swift satellite. Mid-ultraviolet light is shown in blue, near-UV light in green and visible light in red (Image NASA/Swift/P. Brown, TAMU)

A research conducted by a team led by astronomer Peter A. Milne of the University of Arizona published in two articles in the “Astrophysical Journal” shows that Type Ia supernovae can be divided into two groups with different characteristics. For years, astronomers had thought that their brightness depended almost exclusively on their distance. This can have consequences on our knowledge of the universe expansion, also calculated based on this type of supernovae.

Images of eight galaxies containing green filaments that are the last effect of ancient quasars (Image NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa))

The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a series of ghosts of quasars that existed in the past. They are seen as ethereal green objects in various forms and are the last effects of ancient quasars. These phenomena are very interesting from a scientific standpoint because they can provide information about the past of those galaxies, which were once very active.

Data from the SOFIA airborne telescope shows dust surviving within a supernova remnants (Image NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al)

In the journal “Science” an article was just published that discusses a research conducted by an international team of scientists who found evidence that supernovae can generate a sufficient amount of material that can later create new planets like Earth. This team, led by Ryan Lau of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studied in particular a supernova that exploded about 10,000 years ago using a special instrument, the airborne telescope SOFIA.