News archive

News archive

Centuries ago it was commonly believed that comets carried disease in their tails. Nowadays we know the only 'disease' you can get from a comet is a cold - if you stay out too long at night watching it! But these old beliefs were not completely wrong: comet tails do contain an extremely poisonous chemical compound - hydrogen cyanide. Now a team of Dutch and German astronomers using ESA's Infrared Space Observatory and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii have discovered that this poison can help them to understand the birth of massive stars - its presence is a sign that a massive baby star has begun to warm up.
Published: 10 October 2001
This is such an unusual view of the impressive M16 nebula, also known as 'The Eagle', that even the most devoted sky-lovers will be surprised. It shows exactly what in the best known pictures of this famous nebula remains invisible: huge amounts of the cold dust that enshrouds newborn stars.
Published: 7 September 2001
After being assembled by prime contractor Alenia Spazio, INTEGRAL has now been delivered to ESA's ESTEC facility in the Netherlands. Environmental and system tests are now to take place on the gamma-ray observatory in view of a launch in October 2002.
Published: 30 July 2001
Studying distant stars and their planets in different states of evolution is of great interest to astronomers and of immense importance for astronomy. XMM-Newton has added its contribution with an observation of a stellar system, L1551 IRS5. It has enabled ESAs X-ray observatory to detect for the first time the X-ray emission from its spectacular jets.
Published: 30 July 2001
Summer migrations in Europe tend to be southwards. But one caravan, composed of some thirty lorries, has started off in the other direction, from Italy to the Netherlands: ESA's INTEGRAL spacecraft is moving house.
Published: 11 July 2001
There are many kinds of celestial objects in the Universe but we are far from knowing them all. XMM-Newton may have discovered a new one: a very luminous soft X-ray source that is pulsating extremely rapidly in the central region of the Andromeda galaxy. This unusual object could be a new kind of accreting white dwarf.
Published: 4 July 2001
Like many of Copenhagen's inhabitants, Dr Niels Lund cycles to work everyday, a 5 km distance from his home to the Danish Space Research Institute. For the past six years, his thoughts whilst peddling have been set on the successful completion of JEM-X, one of the four science instruments aboard ESA's gamma-ray observatory INTEGRAL.
Published: 3 July 2001
Alcatel Space, prime contractor for ESA's Herschel and Planck space telescopes.The largest contract ever in the history of European space astronomy has been awarded by the European Space Agency, ESA, to an industrial consortium led by Alcatel Space Industries (France), for the manufacture of two ESA astronomy satellites, the Herschel Space Observatory and Planck.
Published: 22 June 2001
Astronomy is a painstaking discipline, requiring time and patience. Yet once in while, a string of discoveries using different telescopes occur in the same domain, each following hot on the heels of one another. Now, XMM-Newton adds the latest chapter to the story of IC443, one of the most studied supernova remnants.
Published: 14 June 2001
An extensive, multi-wavelength study with the Hubble Space Telescope has shown the many faces of the galaxy NGC 1512. Hubble's unique vantage point high above the atmosphere allows scientists to see objects over a broad range of wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the infrared.
Published: 31 May 2001
Radio galaxies and quasars look different and have been traditionally classified as different objects. But for quite some time now, many astronomers have suspected that those differences are not real but are only apparent, a 'visual illusion' which arises because of our special observation point from the Earth.
Published: 22 May 2001
Calibration is a key moment in the life of a space telescope before launch. Those who have designed and built the instrument and the future users must precisely measure its performance before it starts to examine the Universe. Such calibrations can require considerable effort, and the use of unique installations. That has been the case for INTEGRAL's gamma-ray spectrometer SPI, which has just completed its calibration at a test centre belonging to France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Published: 7 May 2001
To celebrate its eleventh birthday, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has released an unsurpassed picture of the famous Horsehead nebula in Orion. This dark nebula is part of the large Orion Complex, birthplace to thousands of stars.
Published: 24 April 2001
Astronomers using XMM-Newton have presented strong new evidence on the correlation between black hole binary systems and microquasars - celestial objects that expel subatomic particles at relativistic velocities, practically at the speed of light. An XMM-Newton observation of one such microquasar in the Milky Way implies that a black hole is almost certainly lurking within.
Published: 18 April 2001
The search for water in space goes on. Using ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), Spanish and Italian astronomers have for the first time measured the total amount of water in cold regions of our galaxy. This is especially interesting because these regions are the birthplace of stars like the Sun, and Solar Systems like our own. These new measurements show that water is more abundant than expected - in fact it is the third most abundant molecule in the regions which were studied.
Published: 11 April 2001
Extremely intense radiation from newly born, ultra-bright stars has blown a glowing spherical bubble in the nebula N83B. A new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image has helped to decipher the complex interplay of gas and radiation in a star-forming region of a nearby galaxy.
Published: 28 March 2001
The centre of attention was not a fashion model. But, as in a haute-couture fashion house, it was being dressed for the big day. Nimble fingers cut and trimmed, and dazzling gold-coloured material was delicately pinned and attached.
Published: 14 March 2001
Whilst XMM-Newton delves into the hottest places in the Universe, life down on planet Earth can sometimes also be too warm for comfort. Pictures have become available of a bush fire that recently threatened the X-ray observatory's tracking station near Perth. Science operations were unaffected.
Published: 8 March 2001
A new Flash application has just been published on the "Goodies" page in the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre.
Published: 7 March 2001
Beautiful, detailed Hubble images of the centre of the prototypical starburst galaxy M82 point to a violent past. An ancient burst of star formation that gave birth to more than 100 super star clusters is linked to a violent encounter with the galaxy's large neighbour, M81.
Published: 6 March 2001
24-Apr-2024 16:05 UT

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