V774104 (Foto cortesia Subaru Telescope by Scott Sheppard, Chad Trujillo, and David Tholen. Tutti i diritti riservati)

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland, the discovery of a celestial body called for now only V774104 was announced. Using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, a team led by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii discovered what seems the most distant object yet detected in the solar system being about 15.5 billion kilometers (about 9.5 billion miles) from the Sun, about three times Pluto and about 103 times that of Earth.

Diagram of coronal eruption. At the left the corona (feature in purplish colors) gathers inward, becoming brighter, before shooting away from the black hole (middle and right) (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the detailed observation of a huge X-ray eruption by a supermassive black hole known as Markarian 335 or Mrk 335. The Swift and NuSTAR space telescopes were used to examine this phenomenon of gigantic proportions concluding that it originated from a coronal ejection.

Artistic representation of a red giant with its powerful internal magnetic field (Image courtesy Rafael A. García (SAp CEA), Kyle Augustson (HAO), Jim Fuller (Caltech) & Gabriel Pérez (SMM, IAC), Photograph from AIA/SDO)

An article published in recent days in the journal “Science” describes research that has used the technique of asteroseismology to estimate the intensity of the magnetic fields in the vicinity of the cores of some red giants. This allowed to establish that their intensity can also be 10 million times greater than the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s the first time that scientists have been able to investigate within this type of star.

Comet Lovejoy aka C/2014 Q2 on February 12, 2015 (Photo courtesy Fabrice Noel)

An article just published in the journal “Science Advances” describes a research about Comet Lovejoy, cataloged as C/2014 Q2. A team of researchers led by Nicolas Biver at the Observatoire de Meudon, France, analyzed the compounds emitted together with water when the comet passed close to the Sun, on January 30, 2015, and found 21 different organic molecules including ethyl alcohol and glycolaldehyde, a simple sugar.

The galaxy cluster MACS J0416.1–2403 observed by the Hubble Space Telescope (Image NASA, ESA and the HST Frontier Fields team (STScI))

An international team led by the astronomer Hakim Atek of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe over 250 dwarf galaxies that existed between 600 and 900 million years after the Big Bang. It’s one of the largest samples of dwarf galaxies discovered so far dating back to such a remote era and allows us to look into the universe at a young age providing useful information to understand its evolution.