Planets

Artist's concept of Patroclus and Menoetius (Image courtesy W.M. Keck Observatory/Lynette Cook)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a research on the migration of the solar system’s gaseous planets. A team of scientists studied two asteroids called Patroclus and Menoetius that are out of the ordinary as they form a pair of Jupiter trojans, which means that they orbit at a point of equilibrium of the Sun-Jupiter system. Their conclusion is that their existence is evidence of the shifting of the gaseous planets’ orbits.

Saturn (Image ESA/Hubble, NASA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team, J. DePasquale (STScI), L. Lamy (Observatoire de Paris))

An article accepted for publication in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a series of observations at ultraviolet carried out with the Hubble space telescope of the planet Saturn’s northern aurora. A team of researchers conducted a campaign of observations over seven months before and after the northern summer solstice to get the maximum possible visibility for the aurora. The coordination with the Cassini mission’s Grand Finale offered new information about Saturn’s magnetosphere.

Simulated views of WASP-121b (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Aix-Marseille University (AMU))

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a research on gas giant planets very close to their star. A team of researchers used observations made with Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and computer simulations to study in particular the characteristics of the atmosphere of the exoplanet WASP-121b but also of other similar ones, called ultrahot Jupiters. They’re so close to their stars that their dayside has very high temperatures and are in some ways more similar to a star than a planet.

44 exoplanets detected by the Kepler space telescope confirmed in one go

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” describes the confirmation of 44 exoplanets that are part of an original group of 72 candidates detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. A team of researchers led by John Livingston of the University of Tokyo, Japan, used data collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe and ground-based telescopes in the US to confirm the existence of 44 exoplanets in one go and discover some of their characteristics. 16 of them have a radius less than twice the Earth’s.

Artist's concept of SIMP J01365663+0933473 (Image Caltech/Chuck Carter; NRAO/AUI/NSF)

An article published in the “Astrophysical Journal” describes a study on the magnetic fields of five brown dwarfs, objects at the limit between the planet and the star, cold even by the standards of their category. A team of researchers used the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to examine the brown dwarfs chosen due to their radio wave emissions. The one cataloged as SIMP J01365663+0933473 is especially interesting because it’s at the limit between the planet and the brown dwarf and has a magnetic field over 200 times stronger than Jupiter’s.