Science Results

Science Results

Icy cores of giant planets revealed by ISOUranus and Neptune are very different from Jupiter and Saturn, according to examinations of the giant planets by ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO. Jupiter and Saturn are mainly balls of gas but the more distant Uranus and Neptune contain relatively large cores of ice. This difference is confirmed by French and German astronomers who used ISO to measure heavy hydrogen in the planet's atmospheres. Although the result fits well with current ideas about planetary origins, it casts doubt on the part played by comets.
Published: 27 September 1999
Galaxies are known to have much more matter than telescopes can currentlysee. Up to 90% of the total mass of the galaxies is simply missing: ithas to be there, astronomers know, but it remains undetected. Is thisso-called 'dark matter' made up of exotic, virtually undetectableparticles, or is it merely ordinary matter hidden to instruments for somereason? A new result obtained by a Dutch team with the European SpaceAgency's infrared space telescope, ISO, favours the last idea.
Published: 17 August 1999
In 2011, after an eight-year trek through the inner Solar System, the Rosetta spacecraft will rendezvous with periodic comet Wirtanen before releasing a lander onto its tiny nucleus.In order to ensure the success of this ambitious mission, a joint team from ESA's Space Science Department and the European Southern Observatory (ESO)has agreed to make a series of ground-based observations of the comet. The first fruits of this collaboration are a series of remarkable images of thecomet's nucleus which have been released today by ESO to coincide with theESA Rosetta press conference in London.
Published: 1 July 1999
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
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 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
In addition to its well-known role as explorer of the region of space above the poles of our star the Sun, ESA's Ulysses spacecraft has provided scientists with a glimpse of conditions in the distant reaches of space beyond the boundary of the heliosphere. Instruments on board the out-of-ecliptic pathfinder are making unique measurements of dust particles and gas from the cloud of interstellar material surrounding the heliosphere, allowing scientists to learn more about the history of our solar system. These and other results from the Ulysses mission, now in its ninth year of highly successful operations, are featured in an article by the ESA project scientist, Richard Marsden, in the June issue of the popular astronomy magazine, Astronomy Now.
Published: 21 May 1999
Near-Earth Asteroids - asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth - very likely originate from collisions between larger asteroids thatorbit the Sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. This result, obtained byESA's infrared space telescope, ISO, was presented yesterday at the workshop onISO results on Solar System, held at ESA's Villafranca SatelliteTracking Station in Spain. Other findings related to the atmosphere of Mars and the giant planets - Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus - were also presented during a press conference yesterday morning.
Published: 11 May 1999
Most chemical elements in the Universe are produced in the stars, and thus the stars' environments act as huge chemical factories. The European Space Agency's infrared space telescope, ISO, has detected, in the dust surrounding a star, the chemical signature of a mysterious compound made of carbon, whose nature is being actively debated by astronomers all over the world. While some say it could be a very tiny diamond, others think it is the famous football-shaped molecule called "fullerene" or "buckyball". If either of these hypotheses is confirmed it will be interesting news for industry as well.
Published: 23 April 1999
The fate of the Universe depends on the total amount of existing matter.New clues on this value have been obtained by an international team ofastronomers using the European Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, bymeasuring for the first time the abundance of a particular chemicalelement, deuterium, in a very active star-forming region in the Orionnebula. Their result confirms that the total amount of normal matter isnot enough to stop the expansion of the Universe and cause it to collapseinto a Big Crunch in the future.
Published: 3 March 1999
Like water gushing through cracks in a dam, scientists observed "fountains" of electrified gas, called the solar wind, flowing around magnetic regions on the Sun to begin their 3-million-kilometre-per-hour rush into space. Scientists have identified regions on the Sun where the high speed solar wind - a stream of electrified gas affecting Earth's space environment - originates.
Published: 3 February 1999
For the second time in six months, engineers have revitalised ESA's orbiting solar observatory SOHO, and have also set a space record.The spacecraft went into a self-protection mode (called Emergency Sun Reacquisition - or ESR) on 21 December, when the last of its three gyroscopes failed. Having lost a fundamental orientation system, SOHO continually fired onboard jets to keep its sensors pointed toward the sun.
Published: 2 February 1999
In astronomy, looking far into space means also looking back in time. This is what ISO has been doing during its so-called 'deep surveys':observation programmes to detect the faintest and farthest objects ever seen at infrared wavelengths.
Published: 28 October 1998
Most young stars are surrounded by discs of dust and gas which in a fewmillion years will probably condense to form planets. This is one of theresults presented today during the international ISO meeting being held inParis this week, "The Universe as seen by ISO".
Published: 23 October 1998
The bright massive central star in the spectacular Trifid nebula iscreating a second generation of young stars, in a 'chain reaction' processthat is taking place in less than a hundred thousand years. The occurrenceof such a process had been theoretically postulated, but now for the firsttime, the European Space Agency's ISO infrared space telescope is seeing itin unprecedented detail.
Published: 21 October 1998
The European Space Agency's ISO infrared telescope has detected for the first time the presence of the molecule benzene in Saturn's atmosphere, an unexpected result that poses now the new problem of having to explain how this molecule has been produced. This is one of the new findings presented today at the international meeting "The Universe as seen by ISO" that is being held this week in Paris and is attended by 400 astronomers.
Published: 20 October 1998
A huge ring of organic matter surrounding a young star has been observed by the European Space Agency's ISO space telescope. This is a kind of structure never detected before. With this finding ISO shows again a clear example of how the stars and their environment work as nature's chemical factories: not only is water being produced there - as ISO demonstrated -, but complex organic molecules are also present; these molecules are, essentially, the basic building blocks of all living organisms.
Published: 15 October 1998
The European Space Agency's ISO space telescope has detected the first known infrared-bright gravitational arcs, which are the distorted and magnified images of very faraway objects. The gravitational arcs seen by ISO are revealing some of the farthest objects ever detected in the infrared, and scientists believe they may be distant young galaxies in collision. They number more than thirty, and their distance falls close to the place and time of the Big Bang.
Published: 15 October 1998
The Andromeda galaxy, one of the closest and best-known companions of our own galaxy, has been hiding from the astronomers' eyes one of its secrets: although it has always been considered as a typical spiral galaxy, it has now been shown to be a spectacular ringed galaxy. This is one of the observations made by the European Space Agency's ISO infrared telescope, whose results are being presented at a meeting in Paris 20-23 October, attended by about 400 astronomers from all over the world.
Published: 15 October 1998
20-Jan-2022 10:28 UT

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