“We have been waiting 16 years for this,” said Devin Chu with UCLA’s Galactic Center Group in 2018. “We are anxious to see how the star will behave under the black hole’s violent pull. Will S0-2 follow Einstein’s theory or will the star defy our current laws of physics? We will soon find out!”
“Ceres –the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System–has gained a pivotal role in assessing the origin, evolution and distribution of organic species across the inner solar system,” said Southwest Research Institute scientist Simone Marchi, about high abundance of carbon on Ceres’ near surface, which could be due to an excess of organic matter, possibly formed locally due to water-rocks chemistry.”One has to wonder about how this world may have driven organic chemistry pathways, and how these processes may have affected the make-up of larger planets like the Earth.”
Scientists using new and archival data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered for the first time evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of the largest moon in our solar system, Jupiter’s icy moon Ganymede, which contains more water than all of Earth’s oceans. Water vapor forms when ice from the moon’s surface sublimates—that is, undergoes a phase change from a solid to gas. Ganymede is one of three icy Galilean moons, including Europa and Callisto, that are thought to contain liquid water oceans and potential life-bearing habitats beneath their surface. Jupiter’s gravity stretches and squeezes these moons as they orbit the gas giant, heating their interiors through friction.
“It’s mind-boggling to actually witness material orbiting a massive black hole at 30% of the speed of light,” marveled Oliver Pfuhl, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.
In 2018, astronomers discovered several bizarre objects at the Galactic Center using 12 years of data taken from W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The objects are concealing their true identity behind an opaque screen of dust; they look like gas clouds, but behave like stars. “These compact dusty stellar objects move extremely fast and close to our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole. It is fascinating to watch them move from year to year,” said astronomer Anna Ciurlo at UCLA. “How did they get there? And what will they become? They must have an interesting story to tell.” (more…)
“We use special telescopes to catch X-ray light in the sky, and while looking at these X-rays, the telescopes noticed an unexpected feature and captured a spectrum of light, which is not produced by any known atomic emission,” said University of Miami astrophysicist Nico Cappelluti about a signal first detected in 2014. “This emission line is now called the 3.5 kiloelectron volt (keV). One interpretation of this emission line is that it’s produced by the decay of dark matter.”