Research articles

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  • According to astrophysical and geological models, cosmic dust rich in bioessential elements could have accumulated on the surface of early Earth in arid environments (such as glaciers), potentially helping to foster the chemical origins of life.

    • Craig R. Walton
    • Jessica K. Rigley
    • Oliver Shorttle
    ArticleOpen Access
  • A black hole at the centre of a quasar at a redshift of z = 4 is accreting the mass of the Sun every day. The quasar’s extreme luminosity is equivalent to 50,000 times that of the Milky Way. Its broad-line region should be resolvable observationally and will provide an important test for broad-line region size–luminosity relationships.

    • Christian Wolf
    • Samuel Lai
    • Rachel L. Webster
  • The Eridania region of Mars bears various topographic and geomorphologic signatures of extensive volcanotectonic episodes and diverse volcanism that happened 3.5–4 billion years ago, indicative of vertical crustal recycling similar to Archaean Earth.

    • Joseph R. Michalski
    • A. Deanne Rogers
    • Long Xiao
    ArticleOpen Access
  • By day 1,041 after explosion, SN Ia-CSM 2018evt had produced an estimated 0.01 solar masses of dust in the cold, dense shell behind the supernova ejecta–circumstellar medium interaction, ranking it as one of the most prolific dust-producing supernovae ever recorded.

    • Lingzhi 灵芝 Wang王
    • Maokai Hu
    • Xinghan Zhang
    ArticleOpen Access
  • A very uncommon detached binary system with a 20.5-min orbital period has been discovered to harbour a carbon–oxygen white dwarf star and a low-mass subdwarf B star with a seven-Earth radius that traces the theoretical limit of binary evolution predicted 20 years ago.

    • Jie Lin
    • Chengyuan Wu
    • Wenxiong Li
  • A prominent under-density in the observed radius distribution separates small exoplanets in two categories. The study demonstrates, through planet formation and evolution simulations, that the larger planets, whose composition has been disputed, may be water-rich planets migrating towards the star, where they become steam worlds.

    • Remo Burn
    • Christoph Mordasini
    • Thomas Henning
    ArticleOpen Access
  • While turbulent dissipation is prevalent in astrophysics, the processes that convert turbulent energy into heat are often unclear. This study shows that plasma waves are fundamental to heating the solar wind and similar turbulent astrophysical systems.

    • Trevor A. Bowen
    • Stuart D. Bale
    • Jonathan Squire
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Chemical disequilibrium is a known biosignature, and it is important to determine the conditions for its remote detection. A thermodynamical model coupled with atmospheric retrieval shows that a disequilibrium can be inferred for a Proterozoic Earth-like exoplanet in reflected light at a high O2/CH4 abundance case and signal-to-noise ratio of 50.

    • Amber V. Young
    • Tyler D. Robinson
    • James D. Windsor
    ArticleOpen Access
  • A combination of JWST/NIRCam observations and magnetohydrodynamic simulations indicates that frequent mergers with close companions give rise to bursty star formation and hence the unexpectedly high Lyman-α emission detected from early galaxies.

    • Callum Witten
    • Nicolas Laporte
    • Charlotte Simmonds
    ArticleOpen Access
  • High spatial resolution ALMA observations reveal a group of gravitationally bound quintuple, quadruple, triple and binary protostellar systems in the early stages of formation in a high-mass protocluster. This finding provides a direct measurement of the multiplicity of high-mass star formation.

    • Shanghuo Li
    • Patricio Sanhueza
    • Fei Li
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Multiwavelength observations of a galactic nucleus exhibit quasi-periodic X-ray eruptions (QPEs) that repeat every 22 days, a timescale intermediate between those of other QPEs and so-called repeating nuclear transients. The eruptions are likely to be driven by the interaction between an orbiting body and a central massive black hole.

    • Muryel Guolo
    • Dheeraj R. Pasham
    • Elizabeth C. Ferrara
  • Cold ice-covered dust grains grow during their journey from the interstellar medium to protoplanetary disks. JWST observations show that this growth begins before the protostellar phase and provide quantitative insights into the grain growth process.

    • E. Dartois
    • J. A. Noble
    • W. R. M. Rocha