News archive

News archive

Infant galaxies, distant quasars, exploding stars, mysterious black holes, colliding galaxies. Since its launch on 24 April 1990, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has provided a stunning view of our universe by making unique discoveries and capuring spectacular images
Published: 23 April 1998
On 17 April, after travelling for more than seven years and covering 3.8 billion kilometres, the space probe Ulysses will complete its first orbit of the Sun. Built in Europe for the European Space Agency, this intrepid explorer has ventured into regions never before visited by any spacecraft. It has journeyed far away from the realm of the planets and gone over the poles of the Sun.
Published: 15 April 1998
Although ISO observations finished on 8 April, new results continue to pour as astronomers process their ISO data. A team of American astronomers has discovered a large concentration of water vapour in a cloud of interstellar gas close to the Orion Nebula.
Published: 10 April 1998
ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, has ended its observational phase, long after the expiry date of the end of May 1997 foreseen in the specifications for the mission. Instead of the required 18 months, the astronomers have been able to use ISO for more than 28 months, and as a result have gathered a wealth of additional information about the Universe. Altogether ISO has made over 26 000 observations of cosmic objects.
Published: 9 April 1998
Water vapour detected on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and infrared galaxies identified atimmense distances are among the latest results from ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). At a press briefing in London on 7 April, ESA's director of science, Roger Bonnet, said "ISO is one of the most successful space observatories, and in the infrared it has had no rival." Its discoveries will change our views on the Universe.
Published: 7 April 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
In 1994 the European Space Agency (ESA) developed a phased Lunar programme leading to the long-term goal of creating an infrastructure for utilising and developing the Moon whilst preserving Lunar assets.
Published: 5 March 1998
Astronomers at the universities of Amsterdam, Louvain, Groningen and Utrecht have found proof that planets can form around old, dying stars. In the vicinity of the Red Rectangle, an old binary star in the Monoceros constellation, they have detected a ring of matter constituting the first stage of planet formation. Their results will be published in Nature on 26 February. It had previously been assumed that planets can form only round new-born stars.
Published: 26 February 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
Looking like a black pillar more than 10 metres tall, Europe's largest scientific spacecraft now stands in a test bay at ESTEC, ESA's space and technology centre at Noordwijk in the Netherlands where journalists and cameramen have a unique opportunity to view the XMM satellite at close quarters.
Published: 10 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
The contract to provide the four Cluster II spacecraft has been signed with the Prime Contractor Daimler Benz Aerospace (Dornier), Germany. Agreements with all their sub-contractors for the provision of all the project elements.
Published: 27 November 1997
The four Cluster II spacecraft are to be launched in two pairs by two Soyuz launchers. A preliminary contract has been signed with Starsem, the French/Russian joint venture handling Soyuz launches.
Published: 27 November 1997
A formal Agreement between the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency confirms that a Russian Proton launcher will lift ESA's Integral satellite into space in 2001. In return, Russian astronomers will have about a quarter of the observing time on Integral, as it examines gamma-ray sources in the Universe.
Published: 18 November 1997
A likely solution to one of the major mysteries of the Sun has emerged from recent observations with the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission. The new findings seem to account for a substantial part of the energy needed to cause the very high temperature of the corona, the outermost layer of the Sun's atmosphere, which becomes visible to the naked eye only during a total solar eclipse.
Published: 14 November 1997
The twenty-year saga of the International Ultraviolet Explorer, IUE, culminates in Sevilla, Spain, at a scientific conference, 11-14 November. The worlds astronomers will review the results of this spacecrafts unrivalled contribution to the exploration of the Universe in ultraviolet light. The IUE project team will also present the IUE Final Archive to the astronomical community, produced by reprocessing all of the spacecrafts observations. As an astonishing treasure-chest of data from IUEs long operating life, the Archive will enable astronomers to go on making discoveries for many years to come.
Published: 6 November 1997
ESA's Infrared Space Observatory ISO has detected dust for the first time in apparently empty space between the galaxies. German and Finnish astronomers made the discovery in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices, where more than 500 galaxies swarm together in the Coma Cluster. The intergalactic dust is concentrated towards the centre of the cluster.
Published: 6 November 1997
Tests carried out on 23 october 1997, by ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt,Germany, confirm that ESA's Huygens probe is in excellent condition, following its launch on 15 October aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The dual Cassini-Huygens mission is now en route for Saturn, by way of Venus. In 2004, Huygens will plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan.
Published: 24 October 1997
ESA's latest and farthest venture into the Solar System began at 08:43 UT on 15 October. The American Titan IVB/Centaur launcher sent NASA's large Cassini spacecraft on its way to Saturn. Cassini carries ESA's probe Huygens, as well as the high-gain antenna provided by ASI, the Italian Space Agency. In 2004 ESA's Huygens probe will plunge into the thick atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
Published: 15 October 1997
A true voyage of discovery begins next month with the launch of the Cassini-Huygens mission towards Saturn. After a seven-year journey, the European Space Agency's probe called Huygens will detach itself from the Cassini Saturn orbiter and plunge into the hazy atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
Published: 16 September 1997
11-Aug-2020 04:01 UT

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