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Volume 2 Issue 2, February 2018

Volume 2 Issue 2

Blooming jet instabilities

Hydrodynamical simulations of unmagnetized relativistic jets show that they develop a centrifugal instability—shown in cross-section in the cover image—during reconfinement by the intergalactic medium. This instability introduces turbulence in the jet and may explain the early disruption of some active galactic nuclei jets.

See Gourgouliatos et al.

Image: Konstantinos N. Gourgouliatos, Durham University. Cover Design: Bethany Vukomanovic.


  • Editorial |

    More and more private money is pouring into astronomical research and space exploration, and it's not all hype.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    Recent observations of extreme variability in active galactic nuclei have pushed standard viscous accretion disk models over the edge. I suggest either that some kind of non-local physics dominates accretion disks, or that the optical output we see comes entirely from reprocessing a central source.

    • Andy Lawrence
  • Comment |

    The Ali Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization Telescope — currently under construction in the Ngari prefecture of Tibet — will search for primordial gravitational waves and probe the origin of the Universe.

    • Hong Li
    • Si-Yu Li
    • Xinmin Zhang

Books & Arts

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Observations and thermal models of the first interstellar visitor 1I/‘Oumuamua show that ices could have survived a long interstellar journey, suggesting the possibility that ‘Oumuamua could be a comet.

    • Karen J. Meech
  • News & Views |

    New spacecraft measurements show that the dust cycle plays a key role in driving upward transport of water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars and, consequently, Martian water loss to space.

    • John T. Clarke
  • News & Views |

    Newly measured proper motions of a dozen stars in the Sculptor dwarf galaxy provide important insight into its distribution of dark matter. This result was made possible by combining measurements of star positions from Hubble Space Telescope and Gaia data.

    • Jos de Bruijne



  • Letter |

    Mars Climate Sounder’s multi-annual observations of the vertical distribution of water and dust in the Martian atmosphere show that deep convection from dust storms transports water from the lower to the middle atmosphere, enhancing water loss to space.

    • Nicholas G. Heavens
    • Armin Kleinböhl
    • John T. Schofield
  • Letter |

    Similar physical processes regulate the angular momentum of gas-giant planets and planetary-mass brown dwarfs. These processes are active mostly during the early phase of planetary evolution as rotation rates do not change after the first 2–300 Myr.

    • Marta L. Bryan
    • Björn Benneke
    • Brendan P. Bowler
  • Letter |

    An M = −14 r-band magnitude cutoff for satellite galaxies around isolated massive early-type galaxies indicates that the luminosity function of these satellite galaxies is largely determined by their interaction with their host’s environment.

    • Changbom Park
    • Ho Seong Hwang
    • Jong Chul Lee

Amendments & Corrections

Mission Control

  • Mission Control |

    The MICROSCOPE experiment has set the best upper bound to date on the weak equivalence principle, proving Einstein’s postulate with an unprecedented precision, as explained by Principal Investigator Pierre Touboul and team members Manuel Rodrigues and Joel Bergé.

    • Pierre Touboul
    • Manuel Rodrigues
    • Joel Bergé


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