News archive

News archive

Galaxies in the Universe are often to be found in clusters. Our own Milky Way is a member of a small cluster of galaxies, the Local Group. But clusters also exist that contain thousands of galaxies. XMM-Newton has obtained a remarkably vivid mosaic of one of the most famous of these, the Coma cluster.
Published: 17 October 2000
Supernovae are one of the most cataclysmic events in the Universe, violent explosions by which stars end their lives. A star may then have a brightness over a billion times that of our Sun and outshine the galaxy in which it lies. Their effects can be observed centuries later. XMM-Newton has been observing the remnants of the Tycho supernova, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Published: 13 September 2000
XMM-Newton has this summer passed into its operational phase and NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory has just celebrated its first year in orbit. The world's foremost X-ray astronomy missions will now each be contributing to a greater understanding of the X-ray universe.
Published: 13 September 2000
A Symposium was held in ESTEC on 27 June in honour of Martin C.E. Huber, who is retiring as Head of the Space Science Department of ESA. In expressing his thanks to Martin Huber for his services to ESA and to space science, Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of Science said: " Space Science owes a lot to your fluid leadership, you have been a great friend to all scientists - a remarkable achievement".
Published: 29 June 2000
The Milky Way's centre is the busy core of a metropolis, crowded with huge populations of stars frantically dancing to the rhythm of gravitation. These stars are precious for astronomers: they hold many clues to unveil the past and future history of our galaxy. But the galactic centre has remained a fairly unexplored place so far, due to the thick dust covering it.
Published: 7 June 2000
Calibration of XMM-Newton's science instruments is continuing at a steady pace in view of the start of the operational phase of the mission next month. Since the end of commissioning, ESA's new X-ray space observatory has been viewing an average of one or more calibration target every day.One such target has been NGC 2516, a young open cluster in the southern hemisphere.
Published: 8 May 2000
The earliest stages of formation of planetary systems remain very poorly known because of thethick layers of opaque dust that hid them. The European Space Agency's infrared spacetelescope, ISO, has measured the size of a proto-planetary system, surrounding a newly-born star, a Spanish team ofastronomers report in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. ISO sees a very young'baby-star' surrounded by a disk of the same diameter as Jupiter's orbit, in which planetsare likely to form in the future.
Published: 27 April 2000
The 'Boomerang' (Balloon Observations Of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation ANd Geomagnetics) project, whose results appear in 'Nature' tomorrow [27 April 2000], will provide "exciting high quality data" for cosmology, says ESA astronomer Jan Tauber, project scientist of ESA's next mission to study the origin and evolution of the Universe, Planck.
Published: 26 April 2000
An extraordinary opening for the 44th National Congress of the Italian Astronomical Society (SAIt) in Monte Porzio, Italy this week - pupils of an elementary school Giosue Carducci (Monte Porzio) danced the Origin of the Universe set to the music of Strauss. This original event was part of the opening session of the Congress, co-sponsored by ESA, entitled: Astronomy in town, on Sunday 9 April 2000.Thanks to a series of educational initiatives by the Astronomical Observatory of Monte Porzio, roman schools are becoming familiar with space science and astronomy. Dr Roberto Buonanno, Director of the Observatory, has for many years been promoting lectures addressed to schools, in order to complement the science curriculum and to make astronomy accessible to students of all ages.
Published: 25 April 2000
To mark the Hubble Space Telescope's tenth anniversary, ESA is hosting a press conference at the Space Telescope-European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF) in Munich on Thursday 27 April. With the astronauts who took part in the most recent Servicing Mission (SM3A) in attendance, ESA is taking the opportunity to give a - first - complete overview of Europe's major contribution to the HST mission. It will also review the first ten years of operations and the outstanding results that have changed our vision of the cosmos.
Published: 17 April 2000
The success of ESA's Hipparcos satellite in mapping many stars with amazing accuracy takes another stride this week. The Tycho-2 Catalogue, giving positions, motions, brightness and colours of 2 539 913 stars, more than doubles the number of stars in the original Tycho Catalogue.Included are 99 per cent of all stars down to magnitude 11, which means almost 100 000 times fainter than the brightest star, Sirius.
Published: 10 February 2000
The first pictures from ESA's new X-ray space observatory fully demonstrate the capabilities of the spacecraft's telescopes and its science instruments. The images were officially presented on 9 February at the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre in Villafranca, Spain.
Published: 9 February 2000
Silicate crystals, the most abundant minerals on Earth, are also found in great quantities around old stars and in protoplanetary discs -the discs where planets form. This finding, presented today at a press conference at ESA's Villafranca station in Madrid, is considered by experts in space chemistry as one of the main results of ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO.
Published: 3 February 2000
Press conference 4 FebruaryThe stars are the chemical factories of the Universe: they synthesise intheir cores new chemical elements that combine in the stellar outskirtsto produce new molecules, and these will become part of the raw materialout of which more stars, planets, and maybe even living organisms willform. ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO, has identified many of thesecompounds in space. About 150 astronomers, including many experts in space-chemistry, will present and discuss results in the field at ESA's Villafranca station, in Madrid, Spain, from 2 to 4 February.
Published: 30 January 2000
The clouds of gas and dust grains in interstellar space contain complex organic molecules made of hundreds of chained carbon atoms. The European Space Agency's infrared space telescope, ISO, has detected these molecules in many different environments and is now unveiling the chemical paths leading to their formation in space. A group of Spanish astronomers have detected for the first time outside the Solar System two molecules that could be the precursors for the formation of the more complex organic compounds. The newly found molecules, detected in two very old stars, are diacetylene and triacetylene (C4H2 and C6H2).
Published: 19 January 2000
Chemical synthesis of complex organic molecules, the most basic 'buildingblocks' for life, can occur rapidly in stellar environments, according toresults obtained with the European Space Agency's infrared spaceobservatory, ISO, and presented last Saturday at the AmericanAstronomical Society meeting in Atlanta by a team of astronomers.
Published: 16 January 2000
ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-Frangois Clervoy and their five fellow crew members on the Space Shuttle Discovery returned to Earth today (28 December at 0001 UT) after a spectacular mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
Published: 28 December 1999
The Space Shuttle Discovery made a perfect lift-off today carrying ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-François Clervoy and five US astronauts into space. Lift-off from launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, occurred at 00:50 UT on Monday 20 December at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window.
Published: 20 December 1999
The European Space Agency's new X-ray space telescope has reached its operational orbit less than a week after being launched from Kourou on 10 December. The XMM spacecraft, which is being controlled by teams at the European Space Operations Centre, ESOC Darmstadt Germany, is functioning admirably.
Published: 19 December 1999
Astronomers have just realised that news of a planet orbiting a distant star came from ESA's Hipparcos satellite eight years ago, although noone noticed it until now. The first observation, on 17 April 1991, was made long before Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the Observatoire de Genève astounded the world in 1995 with their discovery of a planet around the star 51 Pegasi. Since then the search for alien planets has become a highly competitive theme in astronomy, and the present tally of stars known to possess planets is 28.
Published: 13 December 1999
29-May-2024 14:57 UT

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