News archive

News archive

Anyone living near the Arctic Circle will be familiar with aurorae, the legendary red and green curtains that illuminate the long winter nights. Much less familiar is the mysterious 'black aurora', a strange electrical phenomenon that produces dark, empty regions within the visible Northern and Southern Lights.
Published: 10 December 2001
At a conference in San Francisco last night, scientists using the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft to probe the solar interior reported surprising new details about what goes on beneath the dark sunspots that blemish the Sun's bright face. What was previously thought to be a single broad tube of hot, strongly magnetized gas, rising towards the surface beneath a spot, turns out on closer examination to be many smaller magnetic structures that rise quickly from deep within the Sun.
Published: 10 December 2001
The Rosetta Lander, designed to be the first spacecraft in the history of space exploration to make a soft-landing on the icy nucleus of a comet, has now joined its 'mother craft' at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.Over the coming months, the two elements of the most ambitious mission ever to explore a comet will undergo a complex test programme to prepare them for their eight-year trek to the depths of the Solar System.
Published: 5 December 2001
A new European initiative called the Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (AVO) is being launched to provide astronomers with a breathtaking potential for new discoveries. It will enable them to seamlessly combine the data from both ground- and space-based telescopes which are making observations of the Universe across the whole range of wavelengths - from high-energy gamma rays through the ultraviolet and visible to the infrared and radio.
Published: 4 December 2001
Astronomers have observed a Dark Matter objectdirectly for the first time. Images and spectra of a MACHO microlens -a nearby dwarf star that gravitationally focuses light from a star inanother galaxy - were taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope andthe European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The result isa strong confirmation of the theory that a large fraction of DarkMatter exists as small, faint stars in galaxies such as our Milky Way.
Published: 4 December 2001
X-ray emission has been detected from far-flung galaxies and exotic stellar objects in the Universe. But it is also observed from celestial objects much closer to home - even within our Solar System.
Published: 29 November 2001
While developing devices to capture X-rays from objects in space, scientists at the European Space Agency have designed a camera that could become a powerful new weapon in the fight against cancer.
Published: 27 November 2001
After five days of extensive tests, engineers and scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are confident that ESA's Huygens Probe will be able to fulfil its exciting mission to explore Saturn's giant satellite, Titan. The tests, which took place 16 - 21 November, were required to check out the all-important communications link between Huygens and NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Published: 26 November 2001
Probably the most detailed analysis of the composition and dynamics of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia-A has been presented at the symposium 'New Visions of the X-ray Universe in the XMM-Newton and Chandra era' which is taking place this week at the European Space Agencys Technology and Research Centre, ESTEC, Noordwijk in the Netherlands.
Published: 26 November 2001
In the two years since ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra space telescopes opened their eyes to the X-ray Universe, the world's X-ray astronomers have been busy analysing and interpreting the data from both observatories. This week the XMM-Newton and Chandra scientific communities are meeting in the Netherlands for perhaps the most important symposium since the two observatories were launched in 1999.
Published: 22 November 2001
After six years of sometimes painfully difficult development, the construction of the world's largest and most sensitive gamma-ray imaging camera has finished. Following calibration tests in Milan, the fully assembled IBIS telescope has now been transported from Italy to ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands to be integrated on the INTEGRAL spacecraft.
Published: 20 November 2001
Although leaden skies over northern Europe last weekend were a disappointment to most avid meteor watchers, scientists at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands are happily recounting their successful Leonid observations. The reason for their delight is that, despite the cloud blanket that obscured the familiar glowing meteor trails, they were able to detect numerous radio echoes from the famous swarm of shooting stars.
Published: 19 November 2001
Mysterious clouds of gas falling towards the Sun have been spotted with the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft. They go against the fast-moving streams of gas that pour out continuously into space, in the solar wind. In today's issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, the scientists who found them suggest that the inflows are due to frequent local adjustments to the Sun's magnetic field. The discovery promises a better understanding of the sources of the solar magnetism that envelops the Earth, quarrels with our own planet's field, and to some extent protects us from cosmic rays coming from the stars.
Published: 19 November 2001
Every year the Earth ploughs through the trail of tiny dust particles left in space by Comet Temple-Tuttle. These dusty motes collide with the Earth's atmosphere where they meet a fiery fate - to burn up as meteors in the upper layers.
Published: 18 November 2001
A little more than one year from now, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will be speeding through space at many thousands of kilometres per hour. In comparison, the orbiter's stately journey across Europe this week was fairly unspectacular, but the implications for the Rosetta programme are immense.
Published: 18 November 2001
Just over three years from now, ESA's Huygens probe will separate from the NASA Cassini spacecraft and plunge into the atmosphere of Titan, the largest of Saturn's 30 moons. Far from the tender care of controllers on the Earth, every precaution must be taken to ensure that the risks of failure are minimised.
Published: 14 November 2001
Nature enjoys teasing us. Stars are stars and planets are planets, you may think. In reality it is not as clear-cut as that with the discovery of more and more objects that are neither star nor planet. An Italian team, using observations by ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, has obtained the first detailed evidence that these ambiguous star-planet 'missing links' form in the same manner as stars, tipping the balance in favour of a stellar origin.
Published: 13 November 2001
Activity on the Sun may be declining after last year's peak, but, as the four Cluster spacecraft can testify, our nearest star can still pack a hefty punch.
Published: 12 November 2001
The world's astronomers are once again queuing up to use XMM-Newton. In fact ESA's X-ray observatory appears to be even more attractive second time around. The response to the second call for proposals has resulted in 870 submissions - more than for the first call prior to its launch in 1999.
Published: 11 November 2001
A major landmark was passed this week in the race to prepare the Rosetta spacecraft for its January 2003 launch from South America. After the successful mating of the two modules that make up ESA's comet chaser, the Rosetta flight model is now ready for transportation to the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. It will then undergo an exhaustive series of tests before shipment to the launch site at the end of summer 2002.
Published: 8 November 2001
27-Nov-2021 20:35 UT

ShortUrl Portlet

Shortcut URL

https://sci.esa.int/p/QwQ7rr8