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Experimental gravitation and "Radio Science"

Italy has a strong tradition in the use of interplanetary probes for experiments in the field of gravitation. Taken together, these experiments allow the determination of the gravitational field of the planets and minor bodies of the solar system, their structure and rotational motion, as well as to carry out tests of theories of gravitation: information essential for the study of the origin of the solar system itself.

From the instrumental and know-how point of view, in such "Radio Science" experiments, use is made of high sensitivity accelerometers (the ISA - Italian Spring Accelerometer - is one of the payloads of the Bepi Colombo mission), tracking systems and programmes for accurate orbital determination.

ALMA shed light on the chemical composition of a protoplanetary disk

Oct 09, 2020

ALMA shed light on the chemical composition of a protoplanetary disk The team led by Linda Podio, a researcher at INAF, observed a protoplanetary disk of less than 1 million years, which is almost edge-on. The edge-on geometry allowed observing the vertical structure of the disk and to resolve distinct chemical layers. The images obtained thanks to ALMA revealed emission from several molecules. One of these is methanol, a key molecule for the formation of the so-called “complex organic molecules”