A diagram of a secondary eclipse and a graph of the resulting change in brightness over time in the 55 Cancri system based on detections by the James Webb Space Telescope's MIRI instrument

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the results of a study of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e, formally called Janssen, which confirms the presence of an atmosphere that is considered secondary, which means that it derives from emissions coming from the planet itself. A team of researchers led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used observations conducted with the James Webb Space Telescope to detect traces of an atmosphere that may be rich in carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.

The quasar J0148+0600

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the results of observations of primordial quasars that indicate that supermassive black holes form from “seeds” that are very massive and grow quickly. A team of researchers used observations conducted with the James Webb Space Telescope as part of the EIGER project to detect the faint light of the stars surrounding three of those quasars. This feat offers the possibility of obtaining much more information that allows to estimate the mass of galaxies and central supermassive black holes.

The estimates obtained for the three galaxies at the center of this study indicate that the primordial supermassive black holes were much more massive than today’s supermassive black holes compared to their host galaxies. According to the researchers’ reconstruction, primordial quasars powered by black holes engulfed materials at enormous speeds as they went from initial seeds to supermassive black holes.

Magnetite particles cut from an asteroid Ryugu's sample

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” reports the results of tests conducted on samples from the asteroid Ryugu brought back to Earth by the Japanese space agency JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 space probe. A team of researchers led by Professor Yuki Kimura of Hokkaido University found traces of the effects probably caused by the bombardment of micrometeorites.

In particular, the technique called electron holography made it possible to discover that the tiny grains called framboids, composed of magnetite, completely lost the magnetic properties they normally have. According to Professor Kimura, this type of study can also be useful for estimating the degradation caused by interplanetary dust on spacecraft.

The Chang'e 6 mission's vechicles blasting off (Photo courtesy Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

A few hours ago, the Chang’e 6 mission was successfully launched. A Long March 5 rocket blasted off from the Wenchang space center and after about 36 minutes an orbiter and a lander separated from the rocket’s last stage to begin their journey to the Moon. The aim is to take samples of lunar soil on the far side of the Moon and bring them back to Earth.

The Chang’e 6 mission is a sort of evolution of the previous Chang’e 5, launched on November 23, 2020, which brought lunar samples back to Earth on December 16, 2020. The crucial difference is that in this new mission, the landing of a lander will take place in the South Pole-Aitken basin area, on the far side of the Moon. The choice is due to the fact that there are geological differences between the two faces of the Moon.

The Shenzhou 17 mission capsule landing (Photo courtesy Xinhua/Lian Zhen)

Yesterday, the three Chinese taikonauts of the Shenzhou 17 mission returned to Earth after spending a little more than six months on the Chinese space station Tiangong. The three taikonauts Jiang Xinlin, Tang Hongbo, and Tang Shengjie had left the station about nine hours earlier to land at a site called Dongfeng in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It’s a procedure that significantly reduces the time to return to Earth and now has become routine.