Behind the scenes of protostellar disc formation

11 July 2016 Astronomy Now

For a long time the formation of protostellar discs — a prerequisite to the formation of planetary systems — has defied theoretical astrophysicists. Now, researchers have made a breakthrough in our understanding of how protoplanetary discs form, demonstrating that chemistry and microphysics are crucial to the fundamental processes underlying star and planet formation.


A new view of the X-ray sky

26 March 2016 Astronomy Now

In the 1990s, the ROSAT X-ray satellite performed the first deep all-sky survey. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) have revisited the all-sky survey, publishing an extended “2RXS catalogue” — the deepest and cleanest X-ray all-sky survey to date.


First light for future black hole probe

13 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Zooming in on black holes is the main mission for the newly installed GRAVITY instrument at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. During its first observations, GRAVITY successfully combined starlight using all four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes. The first observations using GRAVITY with the four 8-metre VLT Unit Telescopes are planned for later in 2016.