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.
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.
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.
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.
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.