ESA has published images of the area of the planet Mars known as Libya Montes taken by its Mars Express space probe. It’s a mountain range near the Martian equator and is one of the oldest in Mars, altered by volcanic processes and impacts but also by processes associated with the existence of rivers. In the pictures it’s possible to identify various channels and valleys, traces of the ancient water streams.
On the occasion of the second anniversary of the New Horizons space probe’s Pluto flyby, NASA has published a map of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon. The American Space Agency has also created two videos that partially reproduce that flight concentrating one on Pluto and one on Charon. They provide a truly unique perspective, giving the impression of being on board a spaceship flying by those celestial bodies.
An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the discovery of the star EBLM J0555-57Ab. It’s the smallest star ever discovered, with a size very to the planet Saturn’s. Its mass is about 85 times Jupiter’s but, despite being concentrated in a relatively small volume, has barely enough mass and density to maintain nuclear fusion of hydrogen and thus be a true star.
Yesterday NASA started publishing the first raw photos of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot taken by the Juno space probe during its July 10 flyby. All the scientific instruments were active but JunoCam is the one that has obtained the most spectacular results with the pictures of the iconic storm larger than the Earth. From now on, many fans started processing the images by contributing to the NASA database.
An article to be published in the “Astronomical Journal” describes a study of possible errors made in the density estimates of the exoplanets discovered using the transit method. Elise Furlan of Caltech/IPAC-NExScl and Steve Howell of NASA’s Ames Research Center analyzed the effect of the presence of a companion star on estimating the density of exoplanets in those systems, concluding that some of them are actually less dense than calculated.