An article published in “Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a research on a forming protoplanet in the TW Hydrae star system. By using the ALMA radio telescope, a team led by Sean Andrews of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, obtained the best image of a protoplanetary disk produced so far.
An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the detection of variations in the brightness of the famous white spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Using the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile they were observed showing for example a higher brightness during the day. One explanation is that they contain volatile materials that evaporate due to the sunlight.
ESA and Roscosmos’ TGO spacecraft and Schiaparelli lander launched atop a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about 10 minutes, the Breeze M upper stage separated and began the ten and a half hours of maneuvers that will take them out of the Earth’s orbit and en route to the planet Mars.
The OmegaCAM camera mounted on ESO’s VST (VLT Survey Telescope) was used to take a picture of the dwarf galaxy IC 1613. It has the distinction of being really clean, meaning that it contains very little dust while most galaxies contain dust clouds or are even full of it. The very low dust content of IC 1613 allows astronomers to observe its inside and is therefore an excellent target for astronomy and astrophysics studies.
An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a study on the star VY Canis Majoris, one of the largest in the Milky Way. The SPHERE instrument installed on ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) allowed to obtain very detailed images of this star making it possible to study the dust that surrounds it and the considerable mass it loses in time ejecting it.