Nested shells of dust imaged by JWST

Read the November issue!

This month, we present a Focus on sonification, plus shells of dust captured by JWST (pictured), the carbon footprint of IRAP and of the W. M. Keck Observatory, and more...


  • Orange sky behind an observatory

    The global climate crisis has prompted the astronomy community in recent years to assess, primarily, the impact of its activities upon climate change, and secondarily, the impact of climate change upon astronomy. Collectively, these articles demonstrate that the research community needs to take rapid action in order to limit the impact on the climate and create a sustainable future for astronomy.

  • Zwicky 18 is a compact blue dwarf galaxy in Ursa Major

    Dwarf galaxies — galaxies of mass less than roughly a billion solar masses — have emerged as key laboratories for testing a number of open questions in astrophysics. This living Collection brings together a series of short and long articles on the science of dwarf galaxies, their properties and their theoretical modelling and simulations to present the current state of knowledge of the field.

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  • Data from the gravitational wave event GW190521 can be explained by a semi-analytical model of two stellar-mass, nonspinning black holes on highly eccentric, hyperbolic orbits that undergo two close encounters before merging into an intermediate-mass black hole.

    • R. Gamba
    • M. Breschi
    • A. Nagar
  • Exoplanets with radii between 1.4 and 2.5 R may have atmospheres strongly enhanced in helium after a few billion years, due to the preferential loss of hydrogen over helium via photoevaporation. If observed, this phenomenon could demonstrate the importance of photoevaporation in shaping the radius valley.

    • Isaac Malsky
    • Leslie Rogers
    • Nadejda Marounina
  • Observational evidence from planetary systems around white dwarfs shows that planetesimal formation occurs during the first few hundred thousand years after cloud collapse. Iron accreted by these white dwarfs must have been formed by short-lived radioactive nuclides driving iron core formation in planetesimals that form together with the parent star.

    • Amy Bonsor
    • Tim Lichtenberg
    • Andrew M. Buchan
  • Solar wind observations from the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission reveal bursty, turbulent properties within a reconnection diffusion region, in contrast with the usual quasi-steady state of solar wind reconnection. Between October 2017 and May 2019 75 other similar events were identified, indicating the relevance of turbulent reconnection in the solar wind.

    • Rongsheng Wang
    • Shimou Wang
    • Walter Gonzalez
  • For blind and visually impaired astronomers, sonification of data creates opportunities for research and outreach. But for everyone, this Focus issue lays out the benefits of complementing vision-based data analysis tools with data sonification.

  • The 2019 carbon footprint of the W. M. Keck Observatory is estimated at 3.0 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per science night and that figure will move towards net zero over the next decade or so by decarbonizing the Observatory’s vehicle fleet, aviation footprint reductions and other measures.

    • Kevin L. McCann
    • Craig Nance
    • Josh Walawender
  • The development and use of research infrastructures accounts for more than 70% of the carbon footprint of the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology. Our community needs to rethink this crucial facet of astronomical research to engage in effective and perennial reduction strategies.

    • Pierrick Martin
    • Sylvie Brau-Nogué
    • Luigi Tibaldo

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