News & Views

Filters

  • News & Views |

    Radio observations from the Low Frequency Radio Array suggest that magnetic fields in high-redshift clusters are of similar strength as their local counterparts. This finding implies that magnetic fields evolve differently than predicted by cosmological simulations.

    • Kenda Knowles
  • News & Views |

    On a magnetar’s surface, magnetic fields can create permanent sunspot-like structures. Accounting for heat diffusion and magnetic evolution in a magnetar’s crust in the latest simulations improves agreement with observations.

    • Daniele Viganò
  • News & Views |

    Comparing microphysical models of aerosol production to Hubble Space Telescope transit spectra reveals a surprisingly simple transition between atmospheres with hydrocarbon hazes, silicate clouds and clear skies.

    • Nicolas B. Cowan
    •  & Emily Rauscher
  • News & Views |

    A starburst galaxy from the peak epoch of cosmic star-formation history is found to have a significant ionizing ultraviolet emission. This finding will help better constrain the process of reionization in the early Universe.

    • Anahita Alavi
  • News & Views |

    The Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx teams have unexpectedly found bright boulders on their respective dark asteroids, Ryugu and Bennu, which provide solid clues about the composition and origin of impacting bodies in their formation history.

    • M. Cristina De Sanctis
  • News & Views |

    The upper atmospheres of all the giant planets are hotter than models predict. Analysis of Cassini Grand Finale observations of Saturn provide evidence that heat generated by the aurora is responsible.

    • Henrik Melin
  • News & Views |

    A periodic gamma-ray signal detected from the micro-quasar SS 433 cannot be associated with its jet. Instead, a new mechanism capable of channelling most of SS 433’s kinetic power to large distances is needed to explain the observations.

    • Pol Bordas
  • News & Views |

    A Galactic wind blowing from the Milky Way nucleus has swept up a few hundred clouds of atomic gas. New observations reveal dense molecular cores in two of these clouds, indicating a high loss rate of interstellar gas from the Galactic centre.

    • Mark R. Morris
  • News & Views |

    Far-infrared polarimetric observations reveal the small-scale magnetic field structure within dense gas filaments. Gravity-induced gas flows in filaments supports a scenario in which gravitational collapse and star cluster formation occur even in the presence of relatively strong magnetic fields.

    • Gemma Busquet
  • News & Views |

    Secondary gas disks around main sequence stars may regenerate planetary atmospheres, potentially transforming desiccated rocky worlds into gas-enveloped sub-Neptunes that feature high metallicities and enhanced atmospheric C/O ratios.

    • Eve J. Lee
  • News & Views |

    Long believed to be a primitive body, Ceres is now an ocean world with deep brines at a regional and potentially global scale. Further studies at Ceres’s conditions and — above all — a follow-up mission are needed to study its evolution and potential habitability.

    • Julie Castillo-Rogez
  • News & Views |

    The LIGO/Virgo collaboration recently announced the detection of an unusual compact binary merger including either the most massive neutron star or the least massive black hole known. The formation path of such a binary system is still up for debate.

    • Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh
  • News & Views |

    A map of the helium abundance across much of the solar corona will allow us to connect in situ solar wind measurements to their sources and improve our understanding of the origins of the solar wind.

    • Michael Hahn
  • News & Views |

    The measure of Titan’s incredibly large migration speed away from Saturn reveals that tidal dissipation depends on the orbital frequency. This new paradigm has many implications for the internal structure of Saturn and the history of its satellite system.

    • Aurélien Crida
  • News & Views |

    The discovery of four bright fast radio bursts with accurate localization on the sky and association with nearby galaxies enabled a statistical estimate of the baryon content in the intergalactic medium and intervening galaxy halos by measuring the amount of ionized gas towards these sources.

    • Michael Shull
  • News & Views |

    The detection of a ring galaxy at a redshift of z = 2.2, potentially a product of a past collision with a companion galaxy, provides new insights on ring formation and the evolution of disk galaxies in the early Universe.

    • Ronald J. Buta
  • News & Views |

    The cosmic origin of the heaviest elements in the periodic table remains a mystery. Estimates of the physical locations of element-producing events within small galaxies that formed in the early Universe are now providing new clues.

    • Anna Frebel
    •  & Rebecca Surman
  • News & Views |

    The Curiosity rover is unveiling the persistence of habitable environments more than three-billion years ago at Gale crater, Mars. New analyses of Gale’s ancient sediments show that chemical processing of organic material occurred on a liquid-water rich and freezing early Mars.

    • Alberto G. Fairén
  • News & Views |

    In the event of accidental transmission of microbes to other planets, we must consider whether the local conditions would allow their proliferation. Whereas temperatures on Mars are usually hostile to life, liquid water is available from deliquescing salts.

    • John E. Hallsworth
  • News & Views |

    Measurements with a CubeSat gas pixel detector reveal a change in the Crab pulsar polarization after a glitch in the spin period, suggesting that starquakes alter the magnetosphere.

    • Mózsi Kiss
  • News & Views |

    A recent trial of distributed peer review for telescope time allocation at the European Southern Observatory echoes the findings of a similar scheme in place at Gemini Observatory since 2015, with both procedures reducing the time invested, financial costs and reviewer burden.

    • Morten Andersen
  • News & Views |

    One way for a relativistic jet to decelerate is by instabilities developing on its boundary, which are likely to be caused by continuous bombardment by stars from the host galaxy of the radio jet.

    • Núria Torres-Albà
  • News & Views |

    The interstellar object ‘Oumuamua passed through the Solar System in 2017 and exhibited a puzzling combination of physical features. New work tells the story of this visitor.

    • Dimitri Veras
  • News & Views |

    Microwave measurements of water vapour from the Juno spacecraft show that Jupiter is enhanced in oxygen by roughly three times the solar abundance at the equator. The water abundance is important in understanding the formation of Jupiter, the structure of its deep interior, and the nature of its clouds and weather.

    • Gordon L. Bjoraker
  • News & Views |

    Lyman-α blobs are spatially extended nebulae of hydrogen line emission that may hold clues for understanding the formation and evolution of massive galaxies at high redshifts. Recent observations and simulations suggest that multiple mechanisms can explain the origin of these objects, notably including gravitational cooling radiation.

    • Aaron Smith
  • News & Views |

    A radio detection of an old red dwarf might reveal the presence of a planetary system, and open up the search for exoplanets to a new technique.

    • J. Sebastian Pineda
  • News & Views |

    After an initial period of activity, the formation of stars in the Galactic Centre has remained dormant for billions of years. The hibernation ended by a star-formation episode that could be due to the Milky Way interacting with other galaxies.

    • Davide Massari
  • News & Views |

    The Parker Solar Probe spacecraft completed the first two of its 24 scheduled orbits around the Sun on 18 June 2019, making history by flying halfway between Mercury and the Sun.

    • Eugene N. Parker
  • News & Views |

    After George Gamow first proposed the idea of a hot Big Bang in 1948, it took 15 years for the burgeoning cosmology community to recognize his contribution for what it was.

    • P. J. E. Peebles
  • News & Views |

    A pair of seminal papers developed key numerical methods and made the first predictions for the non-linear evolution of cold dark matter, ushering in the era of hierarchical cosmology and modern computational galaxy formation.

    • Rachel S. Somerville
    •  & Greg L. Bryan
  • News & Views |

    After 41 years of travel, the Voyager 2 spacecraft joins its twin in interstellar space. A suite of papers report Voyager 2’s experience of its transition through the heliosheath and heliopause to what lies beyond.

    • R. Du Toit Strauss
  • News & Views |

    The Crab Nebula, formed from a supernova recorded in 1054 ad, is the brightest object in the TeV (teraelectronvolt) gamma-ray sky. Measuring the extension of the gamma-ray nebula helps us to understand particle acceleration and interaction at the highest photon energies.

    • Ke Fang
  • News & Views |

    Accretion onto neutron stars can generate photon luminosities well in excess of the Eddington limit. Now it has been shown that it can also produce outflows with similar mechanical power, requiring a rethink of the interaction between accretion flows and neutron star magnetospheres.

    • Roberto Soria
  • News & Views |

    For years, much of our understanding of the formation of circumstellar aromatic molecules has been based on laboratory flame studies. Now, results acquired using a novel experimental technique suggest that circumstellar aromatics might not be formed under the conditions we thought they were.

    • Michael Gatchell
  • News & Views |

    Large-scale structures can probe the laws of gravity at scales that they have not yet been tested at, but these tests demand accurate modelling of complex galaxy formation processes in competing gravitational theories.

    • Marco Baldi
  • News & Views |

    The peculiar carbon isotopic compositions of carbonates in the Tagish Lake meteorite suggest that D-type asteroids accreted in the outer part of the protoplanetary disk — beyond 10 au — before being dispersed sunwards to the main asteroid belt.

    • Yves Marrocchi
    •  & Laurette Piani
  • News & Views |

    Present-day Mars is thought to be unsuitable for life as we know it. However, a thin coating of silica aerogel on the Martian surface may be enough to induce local, potentially habitable subsurface environments.

    • Edgard G. Rivera-Valentín
  • News & Views |

    A substantial population of previously unknown massive dusty galaxies during the first two billion years after the Big Bang have been identified with submillimetre observations. They may solve some outstanding puzzles related to the formation and evolution of most massive galaxies in the Universe today.

    • Asantha R. Cooray
  • News & Views |

    Most binary Kuiper belt objects orbit each other in the same direction as their orbit around the Sun. New computer simulations show that such orbits may be a fingerprint of planetesimal formation from collapsing clumps of pebbles.

    • Anders Johansen
  • News & Views |

    Careful measurements taken over 15 years have revealed a new planetary companion to the famous young star, Beta Pictoris, thereby unveiling one of the most massive extrasolar planetary systems yet discovered.

    • Quinn M. Konopacky
  • News & Views |

    Astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility have discovered two white dwarfs orbiting each other every 6.9 minutes. But there is nothing transient about the gravitational waves emitted from this binary: the stars will produce persistent ripples in spacetime for millennia.

    • J. J. Hermes
  • News & Views |

    On its way to Jupiter in 1990, the Galileo spacecraft searched for signs of life on Earth, providing a set of control experiments that continue to inform our quest to detect extraterrestrial life.

    • Nathalie A. Cabrol
  • News & Views |

    Two landmark papers in the 1970s contributed strongly to establishing the importance of galaxy interactions and mergers in the formation and evolution of galaxies, using only gravity, and the ensuing dynamical friction.

    • E. Athanassoula
    •  & Albert Bosma