On February 17th the X-ray satellite ASTRO-H was launched from the Tahegashima Space Centre. ASTRO-H is capable of observing with unprecedented accuracy the physical mechanisms produced by high-energy phenomena, like supernova explosions and black holes.
Last week astronomers announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves. This detection not only confirms Einstein’s theory of general relativity, but also has implications that affect both the observational and theoretical astrophysics.
The first ever direct detection of gravitational waves was announced on 11th of February. Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time that occur under certain circumstances, for example when two very compact celestial objects like neutron stars or black holes merge. The detection was made about a century after Albert Einstein predicted their existence.
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are extremely energetic explosions of gamma rays and the brightest electromagnetic events known in the universe. Our knowledge on this astonishing astrophysical phenomenon has greatly evolved in recent years.
A team of astronomers presented a catalogue of 147 high-energy sources, most of them located outside our Galaxy. The detection was made using the INTEGRAL observatory.
Pictor A is a galaxy located about 500 million light years from Earth. A supermassive black hole is located at its center and generates a huge jet of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light into the intergalactic space, displaying a continuous X-ray emission over a distance of 300,000 light years.
Ultra-luminous X-ray sources, are sources that are less luminous than Active Galactic Nuclei but more luminous than any known stellar process. Their origin remains unknown.
In June 2015 astronomers detected the brightest supernova that has ever been observed, known now as ASASSN-15lh. It is brighter than 570 billion Suns and 100 times brighter than ordinary supernovae.
The sources that caused the re-ionization era of the universe, which followed the dark ages, is still an open question in observational cosmology. A recent study from a team of astronomers tries to shed light on this issue.
Astronomers observed the most luminous quasar in the universe, with a luminosity that exceeds 350 trillion times the luminosity of our Sun. The quasar lies at a distance that light needs 12.5 billion years to travel to us. Further study of the object revealed an extremely turbulent behaviour that may explain its extreme luminosity.