Stars

Image showing the observations of the supernova SN Refsdal. In the uppermost circle there's the possible observation happened in 1998, in the middle circe the 2015 observation and in the lowermost circle the 2014 observation

The Hubble Space Telescope allowed us to observe a supernova just during the explosion. This is due to the fact that its appearance was foretold. For the first time, the use of complex calculations related to the theory of relativity made it possible to capture the supernova nicknamed Refsdal when it exploded. It’s the first time such a feat was achieved by exploiting the gravitational lensing of that galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5 + 2223, which bent the light from that star showing the explosion several times in different areas of the sky.

Image of the star VY Canis Majoris captured by the SPHERE instrument on VLT (Photo ESO)

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.

The Tarantula Nebula with the PSR J0540-6919 and PSR J0537-6910 pulsars circled (Image NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; background: ESO/R. Fosbury (ST-ECF))

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the study of the first gamma-ray emitting pulsar discovered outside the Milky Way. Cataloged as PSR J0540-6919, it’s part of an area full of stars known as the Tarantula Nebula or 30 Doradus within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The gamma rays emission from this pulsar was identified by the LAT (Large Area Telescope), one of the instruments of the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope.

Artistic representation of a red giant with its powerful internal magnetic field (Image courtesy Rafael A. García (SAp CEA), Kyle Augustson (HAO), Jim Fuller (Caltech) & Gabriel Pérez (SMM, IAC), Photograph from AIA/SDO)

An article published in recent days in the journal “Science” describes research that has used the technique of asteroseismology to estimate the intensity of the magnetic fields in the vicinity of the cores of some red giants. This allowed to establish that their intensity can also be 10 million times greater than the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s the first time that scientists have been able to investigate within this type of star.

Artistic impression of the VFTS 352 stars (Image ESO/L. Calçada)

An article published in “Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on a couple of very special stars. The binary system called VFTS 352 is in fact composed of two stars that are touching and these stars are the largest discovered to date in this situation. An international team of astronomers used ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) to observe this double star, also to try to understand what kind of development could have.