News archive

News archive

Scientists have found that they can peek around the Sun and predict whether solar storms on its far side will shortly appear on the side facing the Earth. This surprising discovery by SOHO's SWAN instrument could help to predict the solar storms that sometimes threaten the Earth. SWAN has seen something else extraordinary - the biggest shadow ever observed in our solar system, that of a comet projected on the sky behind it.
Published: 22 June 1999
On the day of the summer solstice, ESA Science web site launches its eclipse pageToday at Stonehenge (England) and other ancient observatories across Europe, sunrise was in line with stony structures that identify the longest day. The summer solstice has been, for thousands of years, a time to pay respect to the Sun which powers the life and weather of the Earth. The European Space Agency marks this year's summer solstice in a modern way, with the introduction of a special ECLIPSE99 service on ESA's science web site, looking forward to the next major event in the solar calendar: the total eclipse of the Sun on 11 August.
Published: 21 June 1999
At a press event to be held on Thursday 1 July at the Royal Society in London(6 Carlton House Terrace), the European Space Agency's Director of Science, Professor Roger Bonnet, will present the next mission in ESA's ambitious comet exploration programme and unveil a quarter-sized high-fidelity model of the Rosetta orbiter and lander.
Published: 18 June 1999
Visitors to the Paris air show this week can escape the roar of jets for the peace of a martian landscape. Only two small space probes disturb the tranquil atmosphere in the exhibit inside the pavilion stand by ESA, the French space agency, CNES, and Arianespace. The probes represent Beagle 2 for launch on ESA's Mars Express mission in 2003 and one of four probes to be launched as part of the CNES Netlander mission in 2005. A press conference yesterday morning heard how the two missions will cooperate to put Europe at the heart of Mars exploration early next century.
Published: 16 June 1999
At the Paris Air Show yesterday the contract for the launch of ESA's Mars Express by the Euro-Russian Starsem was signed by Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of the Scientific Programme and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of Starsem. With the signing of this launch contract the major constituents of Europe's first mission to Mars are in place.
Published: 15 June 1999
A steady stream of scientists and engineers coming and going. A strangewooden building hidden behind a high wire fence deep in the Bavarianforests. Unusual humming sounds coming from inside the structure. Asuitable case for an X-Files investigation by Mulder and Scully? Far from it.
Published: 14 June 1999
From vast explosions far away in the Universe to shocks in the Earth'svicinity, the breathtaking scope of ESA's science programme will beevident to visitors at this year's Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, 13-20 June.
Published: 12 June 1999
The European Space Agency's Mars Express mission has won unanimous approval. It will be the first mission Europe has sent to the red planet.The Agency's Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved Mars Express after ESA's Council, meeting at ministerial level in Brussels on 11 and 12 May, had agreed the level of the science budget for the next 4 years, just enough to make the mission affordable. "Mars Express is a mission of opportunity and we felt we just had to jump in and do it. We are convinced it will produce first-rate science," says Hans Balsiger, SPC chairman.
Published: 11 June 1999
Newborn stars are difficult to observe because they are always hidden within dense clouds of dust. And if the star is really a massive one, say 10 times heavier than our Sun, spotting the starbirth is almost impossible: massive stars evolve so quickly that by the time the dust disperses they are 'teenagers', not babies anymore, 20% of their lifetime has already passed. Using the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope a team of European astronomers * has been able to pinpoint several of these massive baby stars, one of which has created - while evolving - an impressive butterfly-shaped nebula of dust around it during its early life.
Published: 10 June 1999
The European Space Agency's XMM mission had until very recently been officially set to liftoff on 21 January 2000. Now, by mutual agreement between the ESA project management and Arianespace, the launch of the X-ray astronomy mission by an Ariane-5 has been rescheduled to mid-December this year.
Published: 10 June 1999
"2% inspiration, 98% transpiration! A tribute to the dedicated personal efforts of 160 people all over the world" was how Francis Vandenbussche (ESA Recovery Manager) described the SOHO rescue mission, on accepting a Silver ESTEC Medal on behalf of the entire SOHO Recovery Team at a private function at ESTEC last Thursday 27 May.
Published: 7 June 1999
The Solar and Heliospheric Observer (SOHO), a joint ESA/NASAspace mission, observed a large coronal mass ejection (CME) on the Sun on 1June 1999, at 19:37 Universal Time. It was first spotted by solar physicistsat the American Astronomical Society meeting in Chicago, where the SOHO datawere being displayed in real time at theESA/SOHO exhibition booth, via an internet connection to NASA's Goddard SpaceFlight Center in Maryland.
Published: 4 June 1999
The strength of the Sun's magnetic field has doubled during the 20thCentury, according to calculations by British scientists. This findingwill help to clarify the Sun's contribution to climate change on theEarth. A team at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford has beenable to work out the recent history of the Sun's magnetic behaviour,thanks to the unprecedented overview of solar magnetism provided by theESA-NASA spacecraft Ulysses.
Published: 3 June 1999
What causes new stars to form inside clouds of gas and dust in space? A team of astronomers using the European Space Agency's infrared space observatory, ISO, believes they have taken a big step towards answering this question. They announced today in Chicago (US), at the American Astronomical Society meeting, the first ever space-based detection of weak magnetic fields in a distant region in which stars are being formed. The differences between these magnetic fields and those from regions with no star formation have revealed what could be the key factor in triggering the birth of new stars.
Published: 2 June 1999
Imagine you make a large and thin surface out of a special material, and then you polish it to make it so uniform that its 'bumps' are lower than one thousandth of a millimetre. Now guess: would your smooth surface survive if you put it under a load fifteen times that of the usual gravity on Earth? And what if you then made it endure a quick, sharp change in temperature of hundreds of degrees?
Published: 1 June 1999
How can anyone be sure that communications between the four satellites and the Earth will not break down once the Cluster II spacecraft are placed in orbit? The obvious answer is to test the system and see whether itworks.
Published: 28 May 1999
To have a look at ESA's Integral spacecraft you have to travel to Turin,Italy. At Alenia Aerospazio engineers are running electrical tests on thegamma-ray observatory that will be launched in 2001.
Published: 28 May 1999
The European Space Agency's X-ray astronomy mission XMM is today one step closer to lift-off, with the mating of the two halves of the satellite. This occurred on 26 May at the ESTEC technical centre at Noordwijk in the Netherlands. ESA's second 'cornerstone' mission is now just over six months away from launch.
Published: 26 May 1999
With the XMM mission just over six months from launch, the XMM web page nowpresents regular updates. Starting with the mating of the spacecraft's upper and lower halves, due to take place today, 26 May, this page will offer regularly updated views of XMM in the integration area of the ESTEC test facilities.Last Update 16:55h
Published: 25 May 1999
ESA's Scientific Programme Committee (SPC), which met in Bern on 19-20 May, took an optimistic view of the decisions taken at Ministerial level in Brussels on 11-12 May. The SPC judged that the level of resources was sufficient to proceed with the approved projects of the Science Programme. After review of the available means and of the Council's assumptions, the SPC confirmed in particular Mars Express, scheduled for launch in 2003. "Following the conditional approval of Mars Express in November 1998, and given the Executive's assessment that the conditions are fulfilled up to the end of 2001, the SPC confirms that Mars Express can proceed", the text of the Resolution states.
Published: 21 May 1999
31-May-2020 08:01 UT

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