Stars

Carbon monoxide in starburst galaxies

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of star formation regions where the percentage of massive stars is much higher compared to others. A team of astronomers led by Zhi-Yu Zhang of the University of Edinburgh used the ALMA radio telescope to study four very old dusty galaxies of the starburst type, meaning where there’s a high star formation rate.

GW170817 seen by XMM-Newton (Image ESA/XMM-Newton; P. D'Avanzo (INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera))

Two articles, one published in the journal “Astronomy and Astrophysics” and one in “The Astrophysical Journal Letter”, describe two researches on the consequences of the merger of two neutron stars detected last year at electromagnetic and gravitational waves. ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope was used to monitor the evolution of its X-ray emissions. NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory was similarly used and a team of researchers concluded that the merger generated a black hole.

The Tarantula Nebula and its A crowded neighborhood for the Tarantula Nebula (Image ESO)

An image published by ESO shows the Tarantula Nebula along with the neighboring areas in their details. A team of astronomers used the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, in Chile, to capture unseen details of star clusters, bright gas clouds and supernova remnants scattered around. It’s the sharpest image ever obtained of that region of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite dwarf galaxies.

Artist's concept of PSR J2215+5135 irradiating its companion (Image courtesy G. Pérez-Díaz/IAC)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the study of a pulsar cataloged as PSR J2215+5135 which is extreme even for this category of objects. A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) used an innovative method to measure the mass of one of the most massive neutron stars discovered, estimated in 2.3 times the Sun’s. This is a method that can also be used with other objects.

Illustration of PSR B1957+20 and its companion

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a high resolution observation of a pulsar cataloged as PSR B1957+20. A team of astronomers used data collected using the Arecibo radio telescope, obtaining one of the best results in the history of astronomy thanks to the presence of a trail of plasma left by a brown dwarf, a companion of the pulsar in a binary system. According to the astronomers, the lens effect generated suggests that it’s also the cause of fast radio bursts.