Science Results

Science Results

Water is the medium of life, and ESA's cosmic water diviner continues to detect it in a wide variety of sources in the cosmos where it was previously unknown. Astronomers using ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, have found water vapour in dark clouds lying towards the centre of the Milky Way. They calculate that water is abundant in our Galaxy.
Published: 29 April 1997
Comets contain the remnants of the raw materials that built the Earth and the other planets of the Solar System. Emphatic confirmation of this long-standing belief of astronomers comes from the detection of the mineral olivine in Comet Hale-Bopp, by ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO. The 28 March issue of the US journal Science carries a report on this result by a European and American team led by Jacques Crovisier of l'Observatoire de Paris-Meudon.
Published: 28 March 1997
If you had infrared eyes, Comet Hale-Bopp would look quite different from the streaky visible object now examined by astronomers' telescopes and amateurs' binoculars all around the world, as the comet approaches its close encounter with the Sun. You would see not just the very fine dust thrown out by the comet, which makes its head and tail conspicuous to ordinary human eyes, but larger particles of dust. The colour or dominant wavelength of the infrared glow would tell you the temperature of the dust cloud. And infrared hues at other wavelengths would reveal the nature of the dust, and let you see what vapours emanate from the comet's nucleus as the Sun's rays warm its chilly surface.
Published: 14 March 1997
The observable Universe may be about 10 per cent larger than astronomers have supposed, according to early results from the European Space Agency's Hipparcos mission. Investigators claim that the measuring ruler used since 1912 to gauge distances in the cosmos was wrongly marked.
Published: 14 February 1997
A special issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, published in the latter part of November 1996, is devoted to early results from the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory. Ninety-one scientific papers tell of unprecedented inspections of the cool universe and its hidden corners, as ISO and its four excellent instruments rewrite the astronomical textbooks.
Published: 28 November 1996
The International Ultraviolet Explorer has completed a campaign of special observations of Jupiter in concert with the Hubble Space Telescope and with NASA's Galileo spacecraft now in orbit around the giant planet. IUE provided an unrepeatable opportunity for sustained observations by ultraviolet light, over 40 days, as its contribution to the programme called the International Jupiter Watch. Important targets were the aurorae, activated by charged particles hitting Jupiter's atmosphere, which IUE discovered around the planet's magnetic poles in 1980.
Published: 30 September 1996
The water that we drink and which fills the world's oceans had its origin among the stars. Astronomers are enthralled by results from the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, which reveal the chemistry of our Galaxy in unprecedented detail. Surprisingly conspicuous in the neighbourhood of stars at the end of their lives is water vapour made by the combination of primordial hydrogen with oxygen atoms newly manufactured by the stars themselves. Water then reappears during the formation of new stars and planets from the interstellar medium. This happened at the origin of tbe Solar System, and incidentally supplied the water which accounts for more than half of a human being's body weight.
Published: 12 June 1996
The turmoil when two vast assemblies of stars crash together is revealed by the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO. This is among the early results announced by astronomers today at ESA's satellite tracking station at Villafranca near Madrid, which commands ISO in its examination of the Universe. Since the satellite's launch on 17 November 1995, teams of astronomers have received invisible light from many cosmic sources while checking their instruments.
Published: 14 February 1996
ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) was successfully launched by Ariane during the night of 17 November. The cover closing the cryostat was ejected on 27 November thereby enabling astronomical use of the ISO telescope. All systems on-board the technologically-innovative satellite are working very well, better than specifications and all the ISO instruments have now received first light.
Published: 6 December 1995
The Uysses spacecraft, on its way to the northern pole of the Sun, has confirmed global differences in solar wind speed after completing the first phase of its high-latitude journey over the southern pole of the Sun.
Published: 6 June 1995
The pass over the Sun's south pole currently being carried out by ESA's probe Ulysses(*) has so far been a total success and has already yielded a first clutch of surprise results concerning this unexplored region.
Published: 16 September 1994
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered the strongest evidence yet that many stars form planetary systems.Dr. C. Robert O'Dell of Rice University, Houston, Texas and colleagues have used Hubble to discover extended disks of dust around 15 newly formed stars in the Orion Nebula, a starbirth region 1500 light-years away.
Published: 16 December 1992
Looking far away and far back in time, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has found some suspected ancestors of today's galaxies. The Hubble pictures reveal that star-forming galaxies were far more prevalent in the clusters of the younger universe than in modern clusters of galaxies near us today.
Published: 1 December 1992
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have gotten their best look yet at the disk of material that surrounds and is being pulled into a suspected black hole. The disk is at the core of a galaxy in the Virgo Cluster 45 million light-years from Earth. Dr. Walter Jaffe of Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands said the disk is tipped about 60 degrees - enough to provide astronomers with a clear view of the galaxy's bright hub.
Published: 19 November 1992
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope an international team of astronomers is uncovering intriguing new details about the most distant galaxy known, located more than ten billion light-years away.
Published: 13 November 1992
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has photographed a striking mirror-image of a very distant galaxy. The observations might unlock the secrets of the dark matter mystery which has puzzled astronomers for decades.
Published: 8 October 1992
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is allowing several teams of astronomers to explore Io at a level of detail not possible since a pair of Voyager spacecraft flew by the small moon 13 years ago.
Published: 2 October 1992
Observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have given a tantalizing glimpse of the time soon after galaxies formed, suggesting that these huge systems of stars formed over a wider span of time than once believed.
Published: 1 July 1992
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST), an international team of astronomers has taken a major first step in redetermining the expansion rate of the universe. This rate, known as the Hubble Constant, is one of two critical numbers needed for making a precise determination of the size and age of the universe.
Published: 29 June 1992
A serendipitous survey of the heavens with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is uncovering remote and unusual galaxies never before resolved by optical telescopes on Earth. HST reveals an unusual variety of shape and structure in these distant galaxies, which previously appeared as fuzzy blobs in ground-based sky surveys. These tantalizing early results may lead to a much clearer understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Published: 24 June 1992
28-Nov-2022 11:57 UT

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