Free Astronomy Magazine September-October 2018

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’ September-October 2018 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 18 20 A possible subglacial lake on Mars Mars, the God of War, is losing the fight to hide its mystery. Leading the charge are orbiters and landers that have revealed an ancient ocean and a thick atmosphere, both lost over the planet’s history. The story of the Martian surface is far from over − a recent study reports the possible discovery of a subglacial... ESO’s VLT sees `Oumuamua getting a boost `Oumuamua — the first interstellar object discovered within our Solar System — has been the subject of intense scrutiny since its discovery in October 2017. `Oumuamua, pronounced “oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah”, was first discovered using the Pan-STARRS telescope at the Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii. Its name... Stellar corpse reveals origin of radioactive molecules A team of astronomers led by Tomasz Kami ń ski (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA), used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the NOrthern Extended Milli- meter Array (NOEMA) to detect a source of the radioactive isotope aluminium-26. The source, known as... A solution to the mysteries of Uranus Planetology has made great strides in the last few decades. Thousands of exoplanets have been discov- ered and the atmospheres of distant worlds have been investigated, to the point of our being able to make meteorological forecasts. And yet, in our own solar system, there is the planet Uranus, for which... First successful test of Einstein’s general relativity near a SMBH Obscured by thick clouds of absorbing dust, the closest supermassive black hole to the Earth lies 26,000 light-years away at the centre of the Milky Way. This gravitational monster, which has a mass four mil- lion times that of the Sun, is surrounded by a small group of stars orbiting around it at high speed. This... Supersharp images from new VLT adaptive optics The MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) works with an adaptive optics unit called GALACSI. This makes use of the Laser Guide Star Facility, 4LGSF, a subsystem of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF). The AOF provides adaptive optics for instruments on the VLTs Unit... Terraforming Mars is still science fiction plan That the destiny of humanity is to colonize other planets is a near-certainty, but this will happen in a future so far off that the ways by which we might do so are highly speculative. Surely, if the population in- creases to unsustainable levels, we will reach a point at which either a strict global birth control will be... First confirmed image of newborn planet caught with ESO’s VLT Astronomers led by a group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany have cap- tured a spectacular snapshot of planetary formation around the young dwarf star PDS 70. By using the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) — one of the most powerful planet-hunting... Astronomers uncover new clues to the star that wouldn’t die What happens when a star behaves like it exploded, but it’s still there? About 170 years ago, astronomers witnessed a major outburst by Eta Carinae, one of the brightest known stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The blast unleashed almost as much energy as a standard supernova explosion. Yet Eta Carinae survived. An... Hubble and Gaia team up to fuel cosmic conundrum Combining observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia space observatory, astronomers further refined the previous value for the Hubble constant, the rate at which the universe is expanding from the big bang 13.8 billion years ago. But as the measurements... 32 36 38 46 50