Telescopes

The Pluto system (Image NASA/STScI/Showalter)

An article just published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on Pluto and its moons showing how two of them, Nix and Hydra, spin in an uncontrolled and unpredictable way. This study is based on an analysis of the observations made using the Hubble Space Telescope but because of the considerable distance they’re far from complete. For this reason, it’s possible that the two other small moons of Pluto, Styx and Kerberos, are in the same situation.

Artistic concept of a galaxy generatic relativistic jets with radio waves coming from its supermassive black hole (Image ESA/Hubble, L. Cal├žada (ESO))

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal” describes a study that established a link between the presence of supermassive black holes that emit jets of materials to nearly the speed of light but also radio waves and galaxy mergers. An international team of astronomers led by Italian INAF researcher Marco Chiaberge used the Hubble Space Telescope in the most extensive survey of the kind ever conducted.

Image of the Medusa Nebula captures using the VLT telescope (Image ESO)

The most detailed image ever obtained of the Medusa Nebula was taken using ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile. It reveals in a much better way the filaments of glowing gas that make it up. Those are snake-like filaments that led to the nickname Medusa with which is commonly known, inspired by the myth of the creature with snakes in place of hair. This nebula shows what might happen to the Sun some billion years in the future.

Artistic concept of the galaxy WISE J224607.57-052635.0 (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal” describes the discovery of the brightest galaxy of the universe made using data from NASA’s space telescope WISE. Known as WISE J224607.57-052635.0, it emits light equivalent to that of over 300 trillion suns. It belongs to the ELIRG (Extremely Luminous Infrared Galaxy) class recently identified thanks to WISE.

Some antennas of the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OV-LWA) with the center of the Milky Way in the background (Image courtesy Gregg Hallinan. All rights reserved)

A new radio telescope was recently activated in California, based at Caltech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). It’s the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OV-LWA), a set of 256 small antennas developed by a consortium led by Caltech that includes NASA’s JPL, Harvard University, the University of New Mexico, Virginia Tech, and the Naval Research Laboratory. Its purpose is to observe the entire sky 24/7 at long radio wavelengths.