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News archive

Astronomers have used modern techniques to visualise data from ESA's Hipparcos space astrometry mission in three dimensions.
Published: 16 November 2015
Professor Michael Perryman, the scientific leader of ESA's Hipparcos mission, and a founding father of its successor mission, Gaia, has been awarded the 2011 Tycho Brahe Prize from the European Astronomical Society.
Published: 6 June 2011
ESA's Hipparcos mission provided astrometric data on thousands of stars. Thanks to advances in computational processing power it has been possible to revisit the original data and improve the accuracy of the derived catalogue.
Published: 27 September 2007
The Millennium Star Atlas is to be reprinted in a soft cover version. The Atlas contains 1548 sky charts, depicting the heavens with unprecedented information on the nature of our Galaxy using the stellar information drawn from ESA's Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues.
Published: 21 September 2005

Using data from ESA's Hipparcos satellite, a team of European astronomers has discovered several groups of 'rebel' stars in the vicinity of our Sun, that move in peculiar directions caused by our galaxy's spiral arms.
Published: 20 October 2004
Using data from the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues, both generated from data acquired by the ESA Hipparcos mission, the Hayden Planetarium has developed a high precision model of our galaxy.
Published: 28 May 2004
Observers, and even the most powerful ground and space telescopes, seecelestial objects (stars and galaxies) in two dimensions. Today, atESTEC, the audience at the Space Science Department Colloquium "OurGalaxy - in Three Dimensions" were treated to a uniquethree-dimensional view of our Galaxy.
Published: 7 February 2001
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
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
A dozen ancient stars, scattered all over the sky, are survivors from asmall galaxy that invaded the Milky Way like a shipload of Vikings. TheEuropean Space Agency's Hipparcos satellite, which measured the motionsof many thousands of stars, enabled astronomers from Leiden in the Netherlands and Garching in Germany to make this astonishing discovery.It provides clear evidence in favour of the theory that great assembliesof stars, like the Milky Way Galaxy where we live, grew by theamalgamation of smaller galaxies.
Published: 4 November 1999
During the total eclipse of the Sun on 11 August, the sky will be darkand some bright stars should be easy to see. Avert your eyes for amoment from the glories of the solar atmosphere, and you can glimpse theplanet Mercury, a newly fashionable target for space exploration.
Published: 5 August 1999
Extraordinary efforts made by individuals who take part in ESA's scientific missions are now to be recognized by a special ESA award called the Director ofScience Medal. At a ceremony in Bern, Switzerland, on 19 May 1999, thefirst four medals were presented to "stars" of the Hipparcos mission,Catherine Turon and Jean Kovalevsky from France, Lennart Lindegren fromSweden and Erik Høg from Denmark.
Published: 19 May 1999
This year's UK Royal Astronomical Society George Darwin Lecturewill be given by Dr Michael Perryman, Astrophysics Division, ESTEC, on 'A Stereoscopic View of our Galaxy'.On Friday 14 May, the Royal Astronomical Society will hold their179th Annual General Meeting at the Scientific Societies Lecture Theatre,in Savile Row, London. The annual George Darwin Lecture, establishedin 1927, covers all fields of astronomy excluding planetary science,and preference is given to a lecturer normally resident outside the UK.This year's lecturer is Dr Michael Perryman, from ESA's Space ScienceDepartment, known for his work as Hipparcos Project Scientistbetween 1981 and 1997. He will talk on the scientific results from theHipparcos mission, and will use a series of novel three-dimensionalstereo images of star fields to illustrate his talk.
Published: 10 May 1999
This week plans for the Gaia space astrometry mission will bepresented to more than 70 scientists from all over Europe when theygather in Leiden (Netherlands) for the Gaia workshop.
Published: 22 November 1998
For recent reviews on the age of the Universe, distances to Globular Clusters & the LargeMagellanic Cloud and the RR Lyrae distance scale see the Scientific Results page.
Published: 15 September 1998
The most accurate and comprehensive stellar catalogues ever produced, the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues, were published in June 1997. Since June 1997 professional and amateur astronomers have been able to make use of this enormously rich resource on line.
Published: 20 July 1998
Data of exceptional accuracy, from ESA's star-mapping satellite Hipparcos, show that distant stars aremoving in unexpected directions. Their strange behaviour could mean that the shape of the Milky Way Galaxy is changing. Ateam of astronomers from Turin Observatory and Oxford University announced the discovery in the 2 April issue of theLondon science journal Nature.
Published: 1 April 1998
A landmark result in the science of the stars comes with a complete and accurate description of the Hyades cluster of more than 200 stars, from measurements by the European Space Agency's star-mapping satellite Hipparcos. With the distance to this historically important tribe of stars now known to better than 1 per cent, theories of the evolution of stars are put on a secure basis at last.
Published: 19 February 1998
The position in the sky of the "silent" neutron star Geminga is now known to within about 10 millionths of a degree (0.04 arc-second) thanks to results from ESA's Hipparcos star-fixing satellite combined with observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope. Geminga emits pulses of gamma rays like a ticking clock, but its apparent rate changes because of the Earth's motion in orbit around the Sun. Using the Hipparcos position to correct this effect, astronomers have made a continuous reckoning of some 3 200 000 000 pulses in the gamma-rays emitted by Geminga, going back to observations by NASA's SAS-2 and ESA's COS-B gamma-ray satellites in the 1970s.
Published: 5 January 1998
To find anything to rival the new results on star positions and motions from the Hipparcos satellite, the European Space Agency's director of science has to look back 400 years. Commenting on the Hipparcos Symposium which commences in Venice on 13 May, Roger Bonnet compares it to astronomy in Denmark at the end of the 16th Century.
Published: 12 May 1997
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