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.
A new study carried out by the team that runs the Mars Rover Curiosity confirmed that between 3.8 and 3.3 billion years ago there were lakes in what is now Gale Crater. At its center today there’s Mount Sharp, which foundations were formed by sediments deposited layer upon layer over a very long period. The results of this study were just published in the journal “Science”.
NASA published the first color photos that show the atmosphere of the dwarf planet Pluto taken by the New Horizons space probe during its July 14, 2015 flyby. The previous images showed the haze in the atmosphere but not its colors so with the arrival of the new ones it was a surprise to find that Pluto’s sky is blue. Another discovery concerns the regions of water ice detected on the surface of the dwarf planet.
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.