Venus Express: up above the clouds so high - Read more >
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:30:00 +0200
ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has climbed to a new orbit following its daring aerobraking experiment, and will now resume observations of this fascinating planet for at least a few more months.
Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:00:00 -0400
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water
vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the
Sun and have come up nearly dry. The planets spectroscopically surveyed
have only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted by
standard planet-formation theories. The planets are not habitable because
they are gaseous and are as big as Jupiter. They lie so much closer to their
host star than Jupiter is to our Sun, so their atmospheres are seething
between 1,500 and 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, this result suggests
that some percentage of Earth-size exoplanets may be more deficient in water
than predicted. And, water is a necessary prerequisite for life as we know it.
The search for water-bearing terrestrial worlds may be more challenging than
thought for future space telescopes. And, scientists may have to revisit their
theories of planet formation.
Call for Media: Rosetta’s comet rendezvous - Read more >
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:20:00 +0200
On 6 August, after a decade-long journey through space, ESA’s Rosetta will become the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet. Members of the media are invited to join ESA at its European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to mark this momentous occasion.
Venus Express rises again - Read more >
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:00:00 +0200
After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to just 130 km from the planet’s surface, ESA’s Venus Express is about to embark on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.
CHEOPS on target - Read more >
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:29:00 +0200
The Characterising ExoPlanet Satellite, ESA's first small Science Programme mission, is ready for construction
Hubble Sees Spiral Bridge of Young Stars Between Two Ancient Galaxies
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:00:00 -0400
It seems like our compulsive universe can be downright capricious when it comes
to making oddball-looking things in the cosmos. The latest surprise to Hubble
astronomers is a 100,000-light-year-long structure that looks like a string of
pearls twisted into a corkscrew shape. This Slinky-like structure forms a bridge between two giant elliptical galaxies that
are colliding. The "pearls" on the Slinky are superclusters of blazing, blue-white,
newly born stars. The whole assembly, which looks like a tug-of-war, must result
from the gravitational tidal forces present in the collision.
Forces of martian nature - Read more >
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0200
The surface of Mars is pocked and scarred with giant impact craters and rocky ridges, as shown in this new image from ESA’s Mars Express that borders the giant Hellas basin in the planet’s southern hemisphere.
Rosetta, are we there yet? - Read more >
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0200
After a 10-year journey that has clocked up more than 6 billion kilometres, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is rapidly closing in on its destination comet, and ESA is inviting you along for the ride.
Hubble to Proceed with Full Search for New Horizons Targets
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:00:00 -0400
Planetary scientists have successfully used the Hubble Space Telescope to
boldly look out to the far frontier of the solar system to find suitable targets for
NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. After the marathon probe zooms past
Pluto in July 2015, it will travel across the Kuiper Belt a vast rim of primitive ice
bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. If NASA
approves, the probe could be redirected to fly to a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) and
photograph it up close.
Swiftly Moving Gas Streamer Eclipses Supermassive Black Hole
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:00:00 -0400
Active galaxies host supermassive black holes in their cores. The intense gravity of the black hole creates a turbulent cauldron of extreme physics. These galaxies, such as NGC 5548 in this study, are too far away for the plasma fireworks to be directly imaged. Therefore astronomers use X-ray and ultraviolet spectroscopy to infer what is happening near the black hole. The new twist is the detection of a clumpy stream of gas that has swept in front of the black hole, blocking its radiation. This deep look into a black hole's environment yields clues to the behavior of active galaxies.
Hubble Finds That Dwarf Galaxies Formed More Than Their Fair Share of the Universe's Stars
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:00:00 -0400
They may be little, but they pack a big star-forming punch. Hubble astronomers
have found that dwarf galaxies in the young universe were responsible for an
"early wave" of star formation not long after the big bang. The galaxies churned
out stars at a furiously fast rate, far above the "normal" star formation
expected of galaxies. Understanding the link between a galaxy's mass and its
star-forming activity helps to assemble a consistent picture of events in the
NASA's Hubble to Begin Search Beyond Pluto for a New Horizons Mission Target
Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:00:00 -0400
The Kuiper Belt is the final frontier of our solar system, and also the vastest.
Stretching from 3 to 5 billion miles from the Sun, it contains myriad primitive icy
bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. After
passing the dwarf planet Pluto in July 2015, NASA's New Horizons space probe will
hurtle deep into the Kuiper Belt at nearly 35,000 miles per hour. The Hubble
Space Telescope is being used to search for a suitable Kuiper Belt object that
New Horizons could pay a visit to. It would be our first and perhaps last look at
such a remote relic from the distant past. The search is very challenging even for
Hubble's sharp vision. It has to find something the size of Manhattan Island, as
black as charcoal, and embedded against a snowstorm of background stars.
Hubble Team Unveils Most Colorful View of Universe Captured by Space Telescope
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 14:15:00 -0400
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. This study, which includes
ultraviolet light, provides the missing link in star formation.
Unveiling Venus - Read more >
Fri, 16 May 2014 15:00:00 +0200
Highlights from ESA’s Venus Express, following end of routine science observations after eight years orbiting the veiled planet
Hubble Shows that Jupiter's Great Red Spot Is Smaller than Ever Seen Before
Thu, 15 May 2014 10:00:00 -0400
Jupiter's monster storm, the Great Red Spot, was once so large that three Earths would fit inside it. But new measurements by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the largest storm in our solar system has downsized
significantly. The red spot, which has been raging for at least a hundred years, is only the width of one Earth. What is happening? One possibility is that some unknown activity in the planet's atmosphere may be draining energy
and weakening the storm, causing it to shrink. The Hubble images were taken in 1995, 2009, and 2014.
Hubble Astronomers Check the Prescription of a Cosmic Lens
Thu, 01 May 2014 13:00:00 -0400
If you need to check whether the prescription for your eye glasses or contact
lenses is still accurate, you visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. The doctor
will ask you to read an eye chart, which tests your visual acuity. Your score helps
the doctor determine whether to change your prescription.
Astronomical Forensics Uncover Planetary Disks in Hubble Archive
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:00:00 -0400
Nearly 2,000 planets have been confirmed to be orbiting other stars in
our galaxy. But the details of planet birth and formation are sparse. The
conventional wisdom, dating back to a hypothesis by philosopher
Immanuel Kant in the late 1700s, considered the
orbit of the planets in our solar system to be the skeleton of disks of dust
and gas that swirled around the newborn sun. The dust particles clumped
together to build planets from the ground up.
Ten years imaging Mars - Read more >
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:08:00 +0100
Travel across the dramatic flood plains of Mars to celebrate ten years of imaging the Red Planet with Mars Express