The disk contains enough material to form at least three natural satellites about the size of our Moon.

Young giant exoplanet PDS 70c, with the circumplanetary disk of gas and dust around it. The disk has enough material to form at least 3 satellites the size of our moon. (Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/ Benistry et al.)

Astronomers have detected a disk of gas and dust surrounding a distant exoplanet, which has the potential to form moons.

The disk in question is called a circumplanetary disk, and this is the first time that such a disk has been clearly identified.

The milestone was achieved with the help of the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), combined with high-resolution images from the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

The observations will help reveal new insights into how satellites and…


According to a recent study, “Cosmic Dawn”- the moment when first stars were formed, occurred 250 to 350 million years after the Big Bang.

Image credit: Dr. Harley Katz, Beecroft Fellow, Department of Physics, University of Oxford.

Shortly after the Big Bang, the Universe was a dark and featureless place, as there were no sources of light (stars or galaxies) at the very beginning.

This period called the “Cosmic Dark Ages” lasted for several hundred million years.

These dark ages gradually ended after the first generation stars (Population III stars)- the source of first visible light, and early galaxies were formed. …


Giant star VVV-WIT-08 was blocked for 200 days by some unknown huge and opaque object. At that time only 3% of its light was reaching to us.

Image credit: ESO

At about more than 25,000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius, lurks an evolved giant star named VVV-WIT-08.

The age of star is about eight billion years, and it is almost hundred times bigger than our own Sun.

While studying VVV-WIT-08, an international team of scientists noticed it nearly disappeared from the sky over a period of about two hundred days.

Apparently, the star has exhibited a drop in its brightness by…


Planet Hunters TESS has announced the discovery of 2 gaseous planets (HD 152843b & HD 152843c) orbiting around a bright Sun-like star named HD 152843.

Artist’s impression of two gas giants (HD 152843b & c) in orbit around a bright Sun-like star
HD 152843. (Image credit: NASA/Scott Wiessinger)

Planet Hunters is a NASA funded citizen science project that looks for extrasolar planets using human eyes. It allows volunteers from public to collaborate with professional astronomers, and analyze data from the Kepler space telescope and the TESS.

Planet Hunters TESS uses data collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The project works on the fact that humans are better at finding visual patterns than computer models.

Now, Planet Hunters TESS has announced the…


Dubbed Valparaiso 1, this open cluster contains at least fifteen thousand stars. It is about 75 million years old.

Valparaiso 1 is located at about 7,000 light-years away in the constellation of Scutum.
(Image credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz, SMM & IAC)

An international team (of scientists) has discovered a massive star cluster of intermediate age in the direction of the Scutum constellation. The cluster lurks at relatively short distance of seven thousand light-years away from our Sun.

Dubbed Valparaiso 1, this open cluster contains at least fifteen thousand stars, and it is about 75 million years old.

An open cluster is a group of stars which were all born together from the same molecular cloud of dust and gas. They move together…


The newly detected circumbinary planet is called TIC 172900988b, and it is slightly bigger than Jupiter.

An artist’s impression of exoplanet TOI 133b, orbiting two stars. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

Recently, a team of international scientists reported the first discovery of a transiting circumbinary exoplanet found from a single sector of TESS data. Their study, submitted on 18 May 2021 can be read here.

The exoplanets that orbit two stars instead of one are called circumbinary planets. The first confirmed circumbinary planet was found circling a binary star system called PSR B1620–26, and was first reported in 1993. The system is located at about 12,400 light-years away in the globular cluster of Messier 4…


Just to avoid confusion, this new found galaxy called BRI 1335–0417 is the oldest known “spiral” galaxy, not the oldest galaxy ever observed.

This ALMA image of the galaxy BRI 1335–0417 shows its two spiral arms, visible on both sides of the compact, bright area in the centre. (Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), T. Tsukui & S. Iguchi)

With the help of ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), scientists have discovered the oldest known spiral galaxy designated BRI 1335–0417.

Located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, ALMA is a radio telescope comprising 66 high-precision antennas, spread over distances of up to sixteen kilometres.

The telescope observes electromagnetic radiation at millimeter/submillimeter wavelengths. ALMA is operated by European Southern Observatory (ESO), along with its international partners.

While analysing data collected by ALMA, scientists spotted the two-armed…


Two separate teams have reported the discovery of heavy metal vapours in the atmospheres of comets in and beyond our Solar System.

Comet NEOWISE seen from Rio Rancho in New Mexico, USA (Image credit: Ganapathy Kumar @Unspalsh.com)

In an unexpected turn of events, two separate teams (of scientists) have reported the discovery of heavy metal vapours in the atmospheres of comets in and beyond our Solar System.

The first study was lead by Jean Manfroid from the University of Liège, Belgium. While analysing the data collected by European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), team found the presence of nickel and iron in the atmospheres of comets that are bound to our Sun.

The…


Rare long-period comets with orbital period less than 4,000 years can cause meteor showers on Earth.

Orbit of a long-period comet. (Image credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NOAJ))

Comets are just a small fraction of all Earth impactors combined, but they are believed to have rocked Earth with some of the greatest impact events over the planet’s history. That’s because they are huge, and their orbits are such that they can collide at high speeds.

Comets are the celestial bodies made up of frozen gases, rocks and dust that orbit the Sun. When a comet, while approaching Sun, comes close to it, the ice on its surface starts to sublimate- a process…


Located about 16,000 light-years from Earth, the newly discovered red giant star is designated SPLUS J210428.01−004934.2 (SPLUS J2104−0049).

Supergiant Rigel- a Population I star with reflection nebula IC 2118 in Eridanus

At a distance of about 16,000 light-years from Earth, astronomers have detected a new ultra-metal-poor (UMP) star. The star was discovered as part of the Southern Photometric Local Universe Survey (S-PLUS).

This newly discovered red giant star has been named SPLUS J210428.01−004934.2 (or SPLUS J2104−0049 in short).

The star has a mass of about 0.8 solar masses, and its effective temperature is estimated to be around 4,700 degrees Celsius. Also, the Star’s low metallicity level (-0.4) …

Absolute Cosmos

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be…

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