Planets

New estimates of Saturn's characteristics include the age of its rings

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a research on the planet Saturn that includes an analysis of its internal structure but also on its evolution, which includes its rings’. A team of researchers led by Luciano Iess of the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, used data collected by the Cassini space probe to determine that the winds on Saturn reach a depth of about 9,000 kilometers and that the rings were formed not more than 100 million years ago.

Artist's concept of the exoplanet K2-288Bb with its star and the other red dwarf far away (Image NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Francis Reddy)

An article published in the journal “The Astronomical Journal” describes the study of the exoplanet K2-288Bb, discovered among the observations made by NASA’s Kepler space telescope with the help of citizen scientists thanks to the Exoplanet Explorers project. Adina Feinstein, a University of Chicago graduate student and lead author of the paper, presented the results at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle held in Seattle.

Korolev crater (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published new images of Korolev crater on Mars obtained thanks to of its Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument. Its peculiarity is that it’s filled with water ice and despite the presence of dust its color is white, which is a strong contrast with that of the surrounding land. Normally water can’t remain solid at the very low pressure generated by the Martian atmosphere but near the north pole Korolev crater acts like a cold trap.

2018 VG18, nicknamed Farout, is the object farthest from the Sun within the solar system

A team of astronomers announced the discovery of the celestial body farthest from the Sun within the solar system. Cataloged as 2018 VG18 and nicknamed Farout, it was discovered by astronomers specializing in the search for Kuiper Belt Objects including the one nicknamed The Goblin, announced in October 2018. 2018 VG18 is much further away, currently at a distance from the Sun estimated around 120 times the Earth’s.

Planetary formation discovered in the Taurus molecular cloud

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the observation of structures in protoplanetary disks that probably were left by newborn and perhaps still developing planets. A team of researchers led by Feng Long of the University of Beijing used the ALMA radio telescope to examine disks surrounding young stars in the Taurus star formation region discovering that of 32 protoplanetary disks 12 were divided into rings, a situation associated with planetary formation.