Volume 4 Issue 3, March 2020

Volume 4 Issue 3

Gravitational wave spectrum

This is the gravitational waveform from a general relativistic simulation of a binary black hole system. Binary black holes are now routinely detected by ground gravitational wave detectors. Space missions such as LISA will be able to monitor the evolution of these binaries years before they merge, allowing multi-frequency gravitational wave astronomy.

See Jani et al.

Image: K. Jani, M. Clark, C. (Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Institute of Technology). Cover Design: Karen Moore.


  • Editorial |

    Staff across 74 UK universities are striking because pay and working conditions are eroding, and changes to the pension scheme mean that workers fear they are paying in more money for fewer benefits without good reason. More clarity is needed.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    The recent disclosure regarding possible biological consequences of the Beresheet hard landing on the Moon raises concerns relating to planetary protection policies. Here we analyse legal and regulatory aspects of the landing of tardigrades and other biological material on the Moon and suggest possible ways to manage challenges arising therefrom.

    • Keren Shahar
    •  & Dov Greenbaum
  • Comment |

    Growing evidence suggests that synchrotron radiation plays a significant role in shaping the spectra of most γ-ray bursts. The relativistic jets producing them are likely to carry a significant fraction of energy in the form of a Poynting flux.

    • Bing Zhang

Books & Arts

Research Highlights

News & Views


  • Letter |

    Spectropolarimetric data combined with high-resolution numerical simulations reveal a resonance cavity above a highly magnetic sunspot. This technique conclusively determines the three-dimensional structure of solar active regions from relatively commonplace two-dimensional data.

    • David B. Jess
    • , Ben Snow
    • , Scott J. Houston
    • , Gert J. J. Botha
    • , Bernhard Fleck
    • , S. Krishna Prasad
    • , Andrés Asensio Ramos
    • , Richard J. Morton
    • , Peter H. Keys
    • , Shahin Jafarzadeh
    • , Marco Stangalini
    • , Samuel D. T. Grant
    •  & Damian J. Christian
  • Letter |

    The global geological map of Saturn’s moon Titan, created using radar observations from Cassini, shows a clear latitudinal dependence, with young dune fields dominant at the equator, plains at mid-latitudes and lakes and old dissected terrains at the poles. Titan’s geomorphology is controlled mostly by climate and topography.

    • R. M. C. Lopes
    • , M. J. Malaska
    • , A. M. Schoenfeld
    • , A. Solomonidou
    • , S. P. D. Birch
    • , M. Florence
    • , A. G. Hayes
    • , D. A. Williams
    • , J. Radebaugh
    • , T. Verlander
    • , E. P. Turtle
    • , A. Le Gall
    •  & S. D. Wall
  • Letter |

    Enceladus’s tiger stripes at the south pole formed in cascade and spaced equally after the first fracture—probably Baghdad Sulcus—was created by the release of accumulated tensile stress, caused in turn by secular cooling.

    • Douglas J. Hemingway
    • , Maxwell L. Rudolph
    •  & Michael Manga
  • Letter |

    Protonated buckminsterfullerene (C60H+) may be the most abundant interstellar analogue of C60, and its gas-phase laboratory infrared spectrum is presented here. C60H+ has more infrared active modes than C60, giving it a richer spectrum that may be detectable with future infrared space missions.

    • Julianna Palotás
    • , Jonathan Martens
    • , Giel Berden
    •  & Jos Oomens
  • Letter |

    Nineteen dwarf galaxies from the ALFALFA catalogue support previous observations of dwarf galaxies that suggested a deficiency in dark matter, challenging the formation theory of low-mass galaxies within the standard cold dark matter model.

    • Qi Guo
    • , Huijie Hu
    • , Zheng Zheng
    • , Shihong Liao
    • , Wei Du
    • , Shude Mao
    • , Linhua Jiang
    • , Jing Wang
    • , Yingjie Peng
    • , Liang Gao
    • , Jie Wang
    •  & Hong Wu
  • Letter |

    A detailed study of young stellar populations from high-quality stacked spectra of 28,663 massive early-type galaxies reveals ubiquitous residual star formation, measuring average mass fractions of 0.5% in young stars in the last 2 Gyr of their evolution.

    • Núria Salvador-Rusiñol
    • , Alexandre Vazdekis
    • , Francesco La Barbera
    • , Michael A. Beasley
    • , Ignacio Ferreras
    • , Andrea Negri
    •  & Claudio Dalla Vecchia
  • Article |

    16 out of 17 spectral observations of Europa, spanning from February 2016 to May 2017, did not see anything, but the one on 26 April 2016 shows evidence of a direct detection of water vapour, compatible with a column density of 1.4 ± 0.4 × 1019 H2O m−2. Whatever water activity there is on Europa, it is very sporadic.

    • L. Paganini
    • , G. L. Villanueva
    • , L. Roth
    • , A. M. Mandell
    • , T. A. Hurford
    • , K. D. Retherford
    •  & M. J. Mumma
  • Article |

    Dust in the Solar System originates primarily in two locations: the interstellar medium and stellar outflows. On the basis of measurements of palladium isotopes in iron meteorites, Ek et al. suggest that the interstellar component was destroyed in the inner Solar System, revealing an enhancement of s-process isotopes from stardust.

    • Mattias Ek
    • , Alison C. Hunt
    • , Maria Lugaro
    •  & Maria Schönbächler
  • Article |

    The large-scale spatial distribution of local active galactic nuclei can constrain the black hole–stellar mass relation and their mean radiative efficiency to 10–20%, suggesting moderate to high spins for the vast majority of supermassive black holes.

    • Francesco Shankar
    • , Viola Allevato
    • , Mariangela Bernardi
    • , Christopher Marsden
    • , Andrea Lapi
    • , Nicola Menci
    • , Philip J. Grylls
    • , Mirko Krumpe
    • , Lorenzo Zanisi
    • , Federica Ricci
    • , Fabio La Franca
    • , Ranieri D. Baldi
    • , Jorge Moreno
    •  & Ravi K. Sheth

Mission Control

  • Mission Control |

    A cost-efficient overhaul of the 50-year-old Molonglo radio telescope will equip it as a standalone fast radio burst detector and localizer, explain Adam Deller and Chris Flynn.

    • Adam Deller
    •  & Chris Flynn