Free Astronomy Magazine March-April 2018
4 News from the TRAPPIST-1 system
In the last year, many studies dedicated to the extraordinary TRAPPIST-1's planetary system have been
realised and published. Sometimes, works published a short distance from each other have described
antithetical scenarios, but as a whole, the efforts made by researchers portrayed that system even...
14 ESO’s VLT working as 16-metre telescope for first time
One of the original design goals of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) was for its four Unit Telescopes (UTs)
to work together to create a single giant telescope. With the first light of the ESPRESSO spectrograph
using the four-Unit-Telescope mode of the VLT, this milestone has now been reached. After extensive...
20 Keck Observatory achieves first light with NIRES
Astronomers at W. M. Keck Observatory have successfully met a major milestone after capturing the
very first science data from Keck Observatory’s newest instrument, the Caltech-built Near-Infrared Echellette Spectrometer (NIRES).
The Keck Observatory-Caltech NIRES team just completed the instrument’s...
22 A Wolf-Rayet star at the origin of the Solar System
We know the way many structures in the universe evolved following their origin, but in many cases we
have not yet understood which phenomenon produced the origin itself. This is the case with our Solar
System, for which the dominant thinking is that it was born because of a shock wave from a supernova...
32 Researchers catch supermassive black hole burping−twice
Astronomers have caught a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy snacking on gas and then “burping” — not once, but twice.
The galaxy under study, called SDSS J1354+1327 (J1354 for short), is about
800 million light-years from Earth. The team used observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope...
34 Giant bubbles on red giant star’s surface
Located 530 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Grus (The Crane), π1 Gruis is a cool red giant.
It has about the same mass as our Sun, but is 350 times larger and several thousand times as bright.
Our Sun will swell to become a similar red giant star in about five billion years. An international team...
38 ExTrA goes into action
A strategic instrument has become operative in the search for Earth-like planets orbiting red dwarf stars
located at relatively short distances from us. Its name is ExTrA. From the ground, it will be able to discover planets as small as other
telescopes can detect from space, and it will help to compile a list of...
46 The archaeology of our Milky Way’s ancient hub probed by Hubble
For many years, astronomers had a simple view of our Milky Way’s central hub, or bulge, as a quiescent
place composed of old stars, the earliest homesteaders of our galaxy. However, because the inner Milky
Way is such a crowded environment, it has always been a challenge to disentangle stellar motions...
48 First ELT main mirror segments successfully cast
The 39-metre-diameter primary mirror of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope will be by far the largest ever
made for an optical-infrared telescope. Such a giant is much too large to be made from a single piece
of glass, so it will consist of 798 individual hexagonal segments, each measuring 1.4 metres across and...
50 SMBHs−host galaxies co-evolution deepened by ALMA
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe an active galaxy with a strong
ionized gas outflow from the galactic center, astronomers have obtained a result making themselves
even more puzzled: an unambiguous detection of carbon monoxide (CO) gas associated with the...