SMSS 2003-1142 at the center (Image courtesy Da Costa/SkyMapper)

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the identification of what is considered a magnetorotational hypernova, the explosion of a very massive star with a powerful magnetic field and in rapid rotation. A team of researchers led by David Yong, Gary Da Costa, and Chiaki Kobayashi collected evidence of this type of hypernova for the first time. That was achieved by examining the data collected not directly but by investigating a mysterious red giant star discovered in the Milky Way halo and cataloged as SMSS J200322.54-114203.3, or simply SMSS 2003-1142, in which there are anomalous quantities of some chemical elements explainable as the product of a magnetorotational hypernova.

The free-floating planet CFBDSIR 2149-0403 (Image ESO/P. Delorme)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” reports the identification of candidate gravitational microlens events that could be the traces of free-floating planets, which are planets that do not orbit any star. A team of researchers led by Iain McDonald used data obtained in 2016 during NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope K2 mission while monitoring a star-filled area near the center of the Milky Way. The result is the discovery of 27 signals generated by possible gravitational microlenses which lasted between one hour and 10 days. The four shortest events are consistent with Earth-sized planets.

A view of the sky with Palomar 5 at the top-center

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” reports a study on the star cluster Palomar 5 that indicates that in a billion years only black holes will remain inside it. A team of researchers led by Professor Mark Gieles of the University of Barcelona studied this ancient and very low-density cluster by conducting a series of simulations to try to predict its future. The number of black holes inside it is already above average today and is subject to gravitational interactions with the consequence that in the distant future its size will increase and only black holes will remain.

Artist's concept of merger between a black hole and a neutron star. (Image courtesy Carl Knox, OzGrav - Swinburne University)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” reports the detection of gravitational waves emitted by two cases of mergers of a black hole with a neutron star. Scientists from the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA collaborations examined data collected by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors to find evidence of this type of merger in two events detected in January 2020. Previously, there were other candidates but the data left various doubts about the nature of the objects that merged.

The Progress MS-17 cargo spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (Image courtesy Roscosmos)

A few hours ago, the Progress MS-17 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station in the mission also referred to as Progress 78 or 778. The Russian cargo spacecraft, which blasted off last Tuesday, June 30, carries food, water, scientific experiments, fuel, and various hardware.

The Progress MS-17 cargo spacecraft docked with the International Space Station’s Russian Poisk module. Today, the crew will probably proceed with the hatch opening and the procedures to make the Progress MS-17 an appendage to the Station.