News archive

News archive

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
Scientists using the joint European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft have discovered "jet streams" or "rivers" of hot, electrically charged gas called plasma flowing beneath the surface of the Sun. They also found features similar to trade winds that transport gas beneath the Sun's fiery surface.
Published: 29 August 1997
On 25 August, results from ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) are being presented to the world's astronomers, who have gathered in Kyoto, Japan for the XXIIIrd General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. A full day is being used for a special session containing 18 separate presentations which illustrate the breadth of ISO's influence in astronomy, ranging from deep surveys and cosmology through extragalactic and galactic studies to our own solar system.
Published: 14 August 1997
A team of astronomers from the United States and Germany has discovered trace amounts of hydrogen fluoride gas in the near vacuum of interstellar space, using the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory satellite, ISO, which was launched in November 1995.
Published: 12 August 1997
New Observations of Intergalactic Helium Absorption Observations of the bright southern quasar HE 2347-4342 with telescopes at the ESO La Silla Observatory and with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have provided a group of European astronomers1 with an exceptional glimpse into an early, still unexplored transition period of the Universe. At that time, many billions of years ago, some of the enormous gaseous clouds of hydrogen and helium left over from the Big Bang had not yet been fully ionized by the increasingly strong radiation from emerging galaxies and stars.
Published: 1 August 1997
The Infrared Space Observatory ISO ought to be running out of fuel by now, 20 months after its launch on 17 November 1995, yet the astronomers and controllers at Villafranca in Spain are busier than ever. Thanks to meticulous engineering and some good fortune, the satellite's working life has stretched from a specified minimum of 18 months to more than 28 months. ESA's unique space telescope for exploring the cool and cloudy Universe by infrared rays should, according to present calculations, remain operational until April 1998.
Published: 22 July 1997
The launch of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, with the European Space Agency's Huygens probe onboard has been rescheduled for Monday 13 October with a new launch window of 09:55 - 12:15 UT (04:55 - 07:15 EDT).
Published: 16 July 1997
An anomaly involving the ground cooling to the Huygens probe was discovered 29 August 1997. At that time the Probe and the Cassini spacecraft were mounted on the Titan IV rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL.
Published: 16 July 1997
In 1997 spacecraft built by the European Space Agency are opening new windows on our Universe and offering new prospects for scientific discovery.
Published: 16 July 1997
An assembly of 58 mirrors, carefully sized, formed and nested one inside another, makes the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever built. ESA's new satellite called XMM, for X-ray Multi-Mirror, will carry three identical telescopes of this kind when it goes into orbit in 1999. With its gold- coated reflecting surfaces totalling 300 square metres, XMM will revolutionize X-ray astronomy. Observations of X-rays from cosmic sources that previously took hours to accomplish will be done by XMM in a matter of seconds.
Published: 13 May 1997
7-May-2021 23:05 UT

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