Massimo Luciani

The galaxies NGC 1300, and NGC 1087, NGC 3627 (top), NGC 4254 and NGC 4303 (bottom)

ESO has published some images created during the PHANGS project using the MUSE instrument on the VLT. These are images of galaxies in the nearby universe in which researchers from the PHANGS project tried to identify stellar nurseries. The aim is to get answers to the questions that still exist about star formation. For this reason, the investigation conducted with the MUSE instrument is a part of a larger project that includes other parallel investigations conducted with the ALMA radio telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope.

The central area of ​​the Milky Way with SgrA*

An article accepted for publication in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” reports a study on Sagittarius A*, or SgrA*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, observed during a flare after it swallowed gas and dust in large quantities. A team of researchers used observations conducted simultaneously in 2019 with the GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s VLT interferometer and with the Spitzer, NuSTAR, and Chandra space telescopes to obtain infrared and X-ray data of the flare. This made it possible to create a detailed model of that type of flare.

Scheme of Jupiter's X-ray auroras

An article published in the journal “Science” reports a study on the planet Jupiter’s auroras that offers a solution to the mystery of X-ray emissions. A team of researchers obtained the crucial information thanks to data collected by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope and NASA’s Juno space probe. That allowed them to understand how ions are transported by the electromagnetic waves present in the Jovian magnetic field to the planet’s atmosphere, with which they collide to generate the auroras.

The VSS Unity spaceplane detaching from the mothership White Knight Two (Image courtesy Virgin Galactic)

Yesterday, Virgin Galactic conducted the first crewed flight, with owner Richard Branson also on board, of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplane called VSS Unity. It took off connected to the mothership White Knight Two from Spaceport America in New Mexico and, at an altitude of 15,000 meters, VSS Unity was dropped and its engine took it to an altitude of approximately 86.2 kilometers (almost 283,000 feet), below the 100 kilometers of the Kármán Line that officially marks the border with space but above the 80 kilometers considered by some entities as that borderline.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft leaving the International Space Station to end its CRS-22 mission (Image NASA)

A few hours ago, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft ended its CRS-22 (Cargo Resupply Service 22) mission for NASA splashing down smoothly in Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida. The Dragon left the International Space Station last Thursday. For SpaceX, this was the second mission of the second contract with NASA to transport resupplies to the Station with the new version of the Dragon cargo spacecraft, which splashes down near the East coast of the USA instead of the Pacific Ocean.