The area called "Bridger Basin" that includes the target for the Mars Rover Curiosity's research called "Big Sky" and "Greenhorn" (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The Mars Rover Curiosity has been finding many rocks rich in silica, a compound formed from silicon and oxygen, in an area of ​​Mount Sharp on Mars that it’s been exploring for some months. A few months ago the discovery of that kind of rocks was a surprise, so much so that mission managers changed the Curiosity’s research schedule to perform further analyzes. That decision led to the discovery of other silica-rick rocks and to further studies to try to explain their presence.

Galaxy NGC 1068 seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. In the circle there's an artist concept of the doughnut of gas and dust surrounding the supermassive black hole at its center (ImageNASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society letters” describes a research on the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy NGC 1068. An international team of astronomers led by Andrea Marinucci of the Roma Tre University in Italy used ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes to study the giant doughnut-shaped structure around the supermassive black hole.

Image showing the observations of the supernova SN Refsdal. In the uppermost circle there's the possible observation happened in 1998, in the middle circe the 2015 observation and in the lowermost circle the 2014 observation

The Hubble Space Telescope allowed us to observe a supernova just during the explosion. This is due to the fact that its appearance was foretold. For the first time, the use of complex calculations related to the theory of relativity made it possible to capture the supernova nicknamed Refsdal when it exploded. It’s the first time such a feat was achieved by exploiting the gravitational lensing of that galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5 + 2223, which bent the light from that star showing the explosion several times in different areas of the sky.

Artistic representation of the ten hot Jupiters examined in this research (Image NASA, ESA, and D. Sing (University of Exeter))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research that provides an explanation to the apparent scarcity of water detected on some exoplanets of the type known as hot Jupiter. These are gas giants like Jupiter but orbit very close to their stars and consequently have very high surface temperatures. An international team of astronomers used the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to study ten exoplanets of this kind.

The SoyuzTMA-19M spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo ESA-Stephane Corvaja)

A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after about six anx a half hours reached the International Space Station carrying Tim Peake, Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra. The Soyuz used the fast path normally used but it took a bit longer than anticipated because of a problem with the automatic docking system: as a consequence, the maneuver was conducted manually.