Free Astronomy Magazine January-February 2019

Editor in chief Michele Ferrara Scientific advisor Prof. Enrico Maria Corsini Publisher Astro Publishing di Pirlo L. Via Bonomelli, 106 25049 Iseo - BS - ITALY email Internet Service Provider Aruba S.p.A. Via San Clemente, 53 24036 Ponte San Pietro - BG - ITALY Copyright All material in this magazine is, unless otherwise stated, property of Astro Publishing di Pirlo L. or included with permission of its author. Reproduction or retransmission of the materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, with- out the prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copy- right law. A single copy of the materi- als available through this course may be made, solely for personal, noncom- mercial use. Users may not distribute such copies to others, whether or not in electronic form, whether or not for a charge or other consideration, with- out prior written consent of the copy- right holder of the materials. The publisher makes available itself with having rights for possible not charac- terized iconographic sources. Advertising - Administration Astro Publishing di Pirlo L. Via Bonomelli, 106 25049 Iseo - BS - ITALY email ASTROFILO l’ January-February 2019 BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION FREELY AVAILABLE THROUGH THE INTERNET English edition of the magazine S U M M A R Y 4 12 16 20 22 Barnard’s Star b, the nearest super-Earth Barnard’s Star, which for over a century has held the record of the star with the fastest apparent motion in our night sky, houses a cold super-Earth that could soon be photographed directly. This planet is the second closest among the known extrasolar ones and one day it will perhaps become a destination for... Most detailed observations of material orbiting close to a black hole ESO’s GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometer has been used by scientists from a consortium of European institutions, including ESO, to observe flares of infrared radiation coming from the accretion disc around Sagittarius A*, the massive object at the heart of the Milky Way. The... Two stars almost touching found inside a planetary nebula An international team of astronomers, led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and Universidad de La Laguna (ULL) investigator David Jones, have discovered a binary system with an orbital period of just a little over three hours. The discovery, which involved several years of observing campaigns, is not only... Bennu, “Didymoon” and Planetary Defense The OSIRIS-REx probe reached its goal, the asteroid Bennu, and entered its scientific phase. This mission, together with the Hayabusa2 probe around the asteroid Ryugu and other missions in an advanced phase of design, are expressions of the will to defend our planet from possible collisions with the rocky bodies... CERN, ALMA and ESO launch art residency program, Symmetry The Symmetry program was launched to foster interdisciplinary exchange between artists and scientists working or living in Chile and Switzerland. It combines the residency of two artists in three of the most fascinating scientific research centers in the world: the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, in Geneva... ALMA and MUSE detect galactic fountain A mere one billion light-years away in the nearby galaxy cluster known as Abell 2597, there lies a gargan- tuan galactic fountain. A massive black hole at the heart of a distant galaxy has been observed pumping a vast spout of cold molecular gas into space, which then rains back onto the black hole as an intergalactic... TRAPPIST-1 planets, a panspermia testbed “Once all our attempts to obtain living matter from inanimate matter are vain, it seems to me to be part of a fully correct scientific procedure to ask oneself whether life has in fact ever had an origin, if it is not as old as the matter itself, and if spores could not have been transported from one planet to another and... Hubble reveals a giant cosmic “bat shadow” The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured part of the wondrous Serpens Nebula, lit up by the star HBC 672. This young star casts a striking shadow — nicknamed the Bat Shadow — on the nebula behind it, revealing telltale signs of its otherwise invisible protoplanetary disc. The Serpens Nebula... Gaia uncovers major event in the formation of the Milky Way ESA’s Gaia mission has made a major breakthrough in unravelling the formation history of the Milky Way. Instead of forming alone, our Galaxy merged with another large galaxy early in its life, around 10 billion years ago. The evidence is littered across the sky all around us, but it has taken Gaia and its extraordinary... ALMA maps Europa’s temperature Jupiter’s icy moon Europa has a chaotic surface terrain that is fractured and cracked, suggesting a long- standing history of geologic activity. A new series of four images of Europa taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has helped astronomers create the first global thermal... 32 36 38 46 48