Free Astronomy Magazine July-August 2020

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’ July-August 2020 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 16 20 24 38 All the planets of Proxima Centauri In the habitable zone of the Proxima Centauri system, the existence of an orbiting Earth-sized planet, Proxima b, is now certain. Some studies have recently suggested the presence of a super-Earth in an outer orbit, and there may even be a third planet smaller than ours in an inner orbit. The observations of... ALMA reveals unusual composition of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov A galactic visitor entered our solar system last year – interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. When astronomers pointed the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) toward the comet on 15 and 16 December 2019, for the first time they directly observed the chemicals stored inside an object from a... A supernova or Sagittarius – which should we thank? The existence of the Sun and everything near it, including life on Earth, could be the result of a passage of the Sagittarius satellite galaxy near the disk of the Milky Way. A recent study suggests that this dwarf galaxy had profound effects on star formation in the Milky Way and probably also on the distribution of... SPHERE sees signs of planet birth Observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) have re- vealed the telltale signs of a planetary system being born. Around the young star AB Aurigae lies a dense disc of dust and gas in which astronomers have spotted a prominent spiral structure with a ‘twist’ that... ESO instrument finds closest black hole to Earth A team of astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other institutes has discov- ered a black hole lying just 1000 light-years from Earth. The black hole is closer to our Solar System than any other found to date and forms part of a triple system that can be seen with the naked eye. The... Hubble makes surprising find in the early Universe New results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest the formation of the first stars and gal- axies in the early Universe took place sooner than previously thought. A European team of astronomers have found no evidence of the first generation of stars, known as Population III stars, as far back as... The principle of mediocrity and the habitability of galaxies Since the time of Copernicus, astronomers have adopted a statistical concept called the “principle of mediocrity” to help us understand the cosmos that surrounds us. This principle extends to all members of a category of appropriately selected objects the attributes of only one of them that we consider to... METIS instrument passes design milestone METIS, the powerful imager and spectrograph for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), has passed its Preliminary Design Review at ESO’s headquarters in Garching, Germany. METIS, short for Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph, will make full use of the giant main mirror of the telescope to study a wide... ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe In our 13.8 billion-year-old Universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the Universe was only ten percent of its current... Hot stars are plagued by giant magnetic spots Astronomers using European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes have discovered giant spots on the surface of extremely hot stars hidden in stellar clusters. Not only are these stars plagued by magnetic spots, some also experience superflare events, explosions of energy several million times more energetic... 32 36 40 50 52