Latest Space News
From horizon to horizon: Celebrating 15 years of Mars Express - Read more >
Fri, 01 Jun 2018 11:00:00 +0200

Fifteen years ago, ESA’s Mars Express was launched to investigate the Red Planet. To mark this milestone comes a striking view of Mars from horizon to horizon, showcasing one of the most intriguing parts of the martian surface.

Red Planet rover set for extreme environment workout - Read more >
Tue, 29 May 2018 16:00:00 +0200

A representative model of the ExoMars rover that will land on Mars in 2021 is beginning a demanding test campaign that will ensure it can survive the rigours of launch and landing, as well as operations under the environmental conditions of Mars. 

Astronomers Release Most Complete Ultraviolet-Light Survey of Nearby Galaxies
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

Much of the light in the universe comes from stars, and yet, star formation is still a vexing question in astronomy.

To piece together a more complete picture of star birth, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at star formation among galaxies in our own cosmic back yard. The survey of 50 galaxies in the local universe, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), is the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light look at nearby star-forming galaxies.

The LEGUS survey combines new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies, offering a valuable resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution. Astronomers are releasing the star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves. The catalogs provide detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters, and how their environment affects their development.

The local universe, stretching across the gulf of space between us and the great Virgo cluster of galaxies, is ideal for study because astronomers can amass a big enough sample of galaxies, and yet, the galaxies are close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual stars. The survey will also help astronomers understand galaxies in the distant universe, where rapid star formation took place.

A space ant fires its lasers - Read more >
Wed, 16 May 2018 14:00:00 +0200

A rare phenomenon connected to the death of a star has been discovered in observations made by ESA’s Herschel space observatory: an unusual laser emission from the spectacular Ant Nebula, which suggests the presence of a double star system hidden at its heart.

Call for media: Meet Europe’s exoplanet satellite Cheops - Read more >
Mon, 14 May 2018 09:00:00 +0200

*Please note this event has been postponed until October. Revised details will be provided nearer the time*

BepiColombo arrives at Europe’s Spaceport - Read more >
Fri, 11 May 2018 14:00:00 +0200

The spacecraft of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury have arrived safely at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, marking the start of six months of preparation to ready the craft for launch.

ESA Planck team awarded prestigious prize - Read more >
Thu, 10 May 2018 13:00:00 +0200

The ESA Planck team has been honoured with the 2018 Gruber Cosmology Prize for its mission mapping the cosmic microwave background – relic radiation from the Big Bang that is still observable today.

ESA selects three new mission concepts for study - Read more >
Mon, 07 May 2018 11:15:00 +0200

A high-energy survey of the early Universe, an infrared observatory to study the formation of stars, planets and galaxies, and a Venus orbiter are to be considered for ESA’s fifth medium class mission in its Cosmic Vision science programme, with a planned launch date in 2032.

Hubble Detects Helium in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet for the First Time
Wed, 02 May 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

There may be no shortage of balloon-filled birthday parties or people with silly high-pitched voices on the planet WASP-107b. That's because NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to detect helium in the atmosphere for the first time ever on a world outside of our solar system. The discovery demonstrates the ability to use infrared spectra to study exoplanet atmospheres.

Though as far back as 2000 helium was predicted to be one of the most readily-detectable gases on giant exoplanets, until now helium had not been found — despite searches for it. Helium was first discovered on the Sun, and is the second-most common element in the universe after hydrogen. It's one of the main constituents of the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

An international team of astronomers led by Jessica Spake of the University of Exeter, UK, used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 to discover helium. The atmosphere of WASP-107b must stretch tens of thousands of miles out into space. This is the first time that such an extended atmosphere has been discovered at infrared wavelengths.

Stellar Thief Is the Surviving Companion to a Supernova
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

In the fading afterglow of a supernova explosion, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have photographed the first image of a surviving companion to a supernova. This is the most compelling evidence that some supernovas originate in double-star systems. The companion to supernova 2001ig’s progenitor star was no innocent bystander to the explosion—it siphoned off almost all of the hydrogen from the doomed star’s stellar envelope. SN 2001ig is categorized as a Type IIb stripped-envelope supernova, which is a relatively rare type of supernova in which most, but not all, of the hydrogen is gone prior to the explosion. Perhaps as many as half of all stripped-envelope supernovas have companions—the other half lose their outer envelopes via stellar winds.

ExoMars returns first images from new orbit - Read more >
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 14:30:00 +0200

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has returned the first images of the Red Planet from its new orbit.

The spacecraft arrived in a near-circular 400 km altitude orbit a few weeks ago ahead of its primary goal to seek out gases that may be linked to active geological or biological activity on Mars.

The orbiter’s Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System, CaSSIS, took this stunning image, which features part of an impact crater, during the instrument’s test period. The camera was activated on 20 March and was tested for the start of its main mission on 28 April.

“We transmitted new software to the instrument at the start of the test phase and after a couple of minor issues, the instrument is in good health and ready to work,” says the camera’s principal investigator, Nicolas Thomas from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

The image captures a 40 km-long segment of Korolev Crater located high in the northern hemisphere. The bright material on the rim of the crater is ice.

“We were really pleased to see how good this picture was given the lighting conditions,” says Antoine Pommerol, a member of the CaSSIS science team working on the calibration of the data. “It shows that CaSSIS can make a major contribution to studies of the carbon dioxide and water cycles on Mars.”

The image is assembled from three images in different colours that were taken almost simultaneously on 15 April.

“We aim to fully automate the image production process,” says Nick. “Once we achieve this, we can distribute the data quickly to the science community for analysis.”

The team also plans to make regular public releases.

The orbiter’s camera is one of four instruments on the Trace Gas Orbiter, or TGO, which also hosts two spectrometer suites and a neutron detector.

The spectrometers began their science mission on 21 April with the spacecraft taking its first ‘sniff’ of the atmosphere. In reality, the sniffing is the spectrometers looking at how molecules in the atmosphere absorb sunlight: each has a unique fingerprint that reveals its chemical composition.

A long period of data collection will be needed to bring out the details, especially for particularly rare – or not even yet discovered – ingredients in the atmosphere. Trace gases, as hinted at from their name, are only present in very small amounts: that is, less than one percent of the volume of the planet’s atmosphere. In particular, the orbiter will seek evidence of methane and other gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological activity.

The camera will eventually help characterise features on the surface that may be related to trace gas sources.

“We are excited to finally be starting collecting data at Mars with this phenomenal spacecraft,” says Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s TGO project scientist. “The test images we have seen so far certainly set the bar high.”

ESA and NASA to investigate bringing martian soil to Earth - Read more >
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 13:27:00 +0200

ESA and NASA signed a statement of intent today to explore concepts for missions to bring samples of martian soil to Earth.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Could Potentially Detect the First Stars and Black Holes
Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

One of the key science goals of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is to learn about “first light,” the moment when the first stars and galaxies lit the universe. While the first galaxies will be within Webb’s reach, individual stars shine so faintly that Webb would not be able to detect them without help. That help could come in the form of natural magnification from gravitational lensing, according to a new theoretical paper.

A cluster of galaxies can provide the needed gravitational oomph to bring distant objects into focus via lensing. Typical gravitational lensing can boost a target’s brightness by a factor of 10 to 20. But in special circumstances, the light of a faraway star could be amplified by 10,000 times or more.

If Webb monitors several galaxy clusters a couple of times a year over its lifetime, chances are good that it will detect such a magnified star, or possibly the accretion disk of a black hole from the same era. This would give astronomers a key opportunity to learn about the actual properties of the early universe and compare them to computer models.

Gaia creates richest star map of our Galaxy – and beyond - Read more >
Wed, 25 Apr 2018 12:00:00 +0200

ESA’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy.

Hubble 28th Anniversary Image Captures Roiling Heart of Vast Stellar Nursery
Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

For 28 years, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been delivering breathtaking views of the universe. Although the telescope has made more than 1.5 million observations of over 40,000 space objects, it is still uncovering stunning celestial gems.

The latest offering is this image of the Lagoon Nebula to celebrate the telescope’s anniversary. Hubble shows this vast stellar nursery in stunning unprecedented detail.

At the center of the photo, a monster young star 200,000 times brighter than our Sun is blasting powerful ultraviolet radiation and hurricane-like stellar winds, carving out a fantasy landscape of ridges, cavities, and mountains of gas and dust. This region epitomizes a typical, raucous stellar nursery full of birth and destruction.

Call for media: Second data release from ESA's Gaia mission - Read more >
Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:00:00 +0200

Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the second data release of ESA's Gaia mission, an astrometry mission to map more than one billion stars in our Galaxy, the Milky Way.

Where is the Universe’s missing matter? - Read more >
Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200

Astronomers using ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory have probed the gas-filled haloes around galaxies in a quest to find ‘missing’ matter thought to reside there, but have come up empty-handed – so where is it?

Mars impact crater or supervolcano? - Read more >
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:00:00 +0200

These images from ESA’s Mars Express show a crater named Ismenia Patera on the Red Planet. Its origin remains uncertain: did a meteorite smash into the surface or could it be the remnants of a supervolcano?

Mars Express v2.0 - Read more >
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:33:00 +0200

Every so often, your smartphone or tablet receives new software to improve its functionality and extend its life. Now, ESA’s Mars Express is getting a fresh install, delivered across over 150 million km of space.

ExoMars poised to start science mission - Read more >
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 11:00:00 +0200

The ExoMars orbiter will soon begin its search for gases that may be linked to active geological or biological activity on the Red Planet.

Hubble Makes the First Precise Distance Measurement to an Ancient Globular Star Cluster
Wed, 04 Apr 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

When you want to know the size of a room, you use a measuring tape to calculate its dimensions.

But you can’t use a tape measure to cover the inconceivably vast distances in space. And, until now, astronomers did not have an equally precise method to accurately measure distances to some of the oldest objects in our universe – ancient swarms of stars outside the disk of our galaxy called globular clusters.

Estimated distances to our Milky Way galaxy’s globular clusters were achieved by comparing the brightness and colors of stars to theoretical models and observations of local stars. But the accuracy of these estimates varies, with uncertainties hovering between 10 percent and 20 percent.

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers were able to use the same sort of trigonometry that surveyors use to precisely measure the distance to NGC 6397, one of the closest globular clusters to Earth. The only difference is that the angles measured in Hubble’s camera are infinitesimal by earthly surveyors’ standards.

The new measurement sets the cluster’s distance at 7,800 light-years away, with just a 3 percent margin of error, and provides an independent estimate for the age of the universe. The Hubble astronomers calculated NGC 6397 is 13.4 billion years old and so formed not long after the big bang. The new measurement also will help astronomers improve models of stellar evolution.

NASA Awards Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowships
Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

NASA has selected 24 new Fellows for its prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrument development. Each fellowship provides the awardee up to three years of support.

Hubble Uncovers the Farthest Star Ever Seen
Mon, 02 Apr 2018 11:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

Through a quirk of nature called “gravitational lensing,” a natural lens in space amplified a very distant star’s light. Astronomers using Hubble took advantage of this phenomenon to pinpoint the faraway star and set a new distance record for the farthest individual star ever seen. They also used the distant star to test one theory of dark matter, and to probe the make-up of a galaxy cluster. The team dubbed the star “Icarus,” after the Greek mythological character who flew too near the Sun on wings of feathers and wax that melted. Its official name is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1.

Winning exoplanet rocket sticker selected - Read more >
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:00:00 +0200

A colourful design capturing the essence of ESA’s Cheops mission, which will measure the size of planets as they cross in front of their parent stars, has been selected for the rocket carrying the satellite into space.

First test success for largest Mars mission parachute - Read more >
Thu, 29 Mar 2018 10:00:00 +0200

The largest parachute ever to fly on a Mars mission has been deployed in the first of a series of tests to prepare for the upcoming ExoMars mission that will deliver a rover and a surface science platform to the Red Planet.

Dark Matter Goes Missing in Oddball Galaxy
Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

Grand, majestic spiral galaxies like our Milky Way are hard to miss. Astronomers can spot these vast complexes because of their large, glowing centers and their signature winding arms of gas and dust, where thousands of glowing stars reside.

But some galaxies aren't so distinctive. They are big, but they have so few stars for their size that they appear very faint and diffuse. In fact, they are so diffuse that they look like giant cotton balls.

Observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of one such galaxy have turned up an oddity that sets it apart from most other galaxies, even the diffuse-looking ones. It contains little, if any, dark matter, the underlying scaffolding upon which galaxies are built. Dark matter is an invisible substance that makes up the bulk of our universe and the invisible glue that holds visible matter in galaxies — stars and gas — together.

Called NGC 1052-DF2, this "ghostly" galaxy contains at most 1/400th the amount of dark matter that astronomers had expected. How it formed is a complete mystery. The galactic oddball is as large as our Milky Way, but the galaxy had escaped attention because it contains only 1/200th the number of stars as our galaxy.

Based on the colors of its globular clusters, NGC 1052-DF2 is about 10 billion years old. It resides about 65 million light-years away.

James Webb Space Telescope update: new launch window under review - Read more >
Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:00:00 +0200

The James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing final integration and testing that will require more time to ensure a successful mission. Following a new assessment of the remaining tasks on the highly complex space observatory, the launch window is now targeted for about May 2020.

Kepler Solves Mystery of Fast and Furious Explosions
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

The universe is so huge that it's estimated that a star explodes as a supernova once every second. Astronomers capture a small fraction of these detonations because they are comparatively short-lived, like fireflies flickering on a summer evening. After skyrocketing to a sudden peak in brightness, a supernova can take weeks to slowly fade away.

For the past decade astronomers have been befuddled by a more curious "flash-in-the-pan" that pops up and then disappears in just a few days, not weeks. It's called a Fast-Evolving Luminous Transient (FELT). Only a few FELTs have been seen in telescopic sky surveys because they are so brief.

Then along came NASA's Kepler Space Telescope that caught a FELT in the act. Kepler's outstanding ability to precisely record changes in the brightness of celestial objects was designed to look for planets across our galaxy. But a great spinoff from the observatory is to go supernova hunting too.

Kelper's unique capabilities captured the properties of the blast. This allowed astronomers to exclude a range of theories about how FELTs happen, and converge on a plausible model. They conclude that the brief flash is from a vast shell of material around a supernova that abruptly lights up when the supernova blast wave crashes into it.

Hubble Solves Cosmic 'Whodunit' with Interstellar Forensics
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

In a cosmic tug-of-war between two dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, only NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope can see who’s winning. The players are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and as they gravitationally tug at each other, one of them has pulled out a huge amount of gas from its companion. This shredded and fragmented gas, called the Leading Arm, is being devoured by the Milky Way and feeding new star birth in our galaxy. But which dwarf galaxy is doing the pulling, and whose gas is now being feasted upon? Scientists used Hubble’s ultraviolet vision to chemically analyze the gas in the Leading Arm and determine its origin. After years of debate, we now have the answer to this “whodunit” mystery.

Arrested Development: Hubble Finds Relic Galaxy Close to Home
Mon, 12 Mar 2018 14:00:00 EDT

Hubble Image

The adventuring cinema archeologist Indiana Jones would be delighted to find a long-sought relic in his own backyard. Astronomers have gotten lucky enough to achieve such a quest. They identified a very rare and odd assemblage of stars that has remained essentially unchanged for the past 10 billion years. The diffuse stellar island provides valuable new insights into the origin and evolution of galaxies billions of years ago.

As far as galaxy evolution goes, this object is clearly a case of “arrested development.” The galaxy, NGC 1277, started its life with a bang long ago, ferociously churning out stars 1,000 times faster than seen in our own Milky Way today. But it abruptly went quiescent as the baby boomer stars aged and grew ever redder. Though Hubble has seen such “red and dead” galaxies in the early universe, one has never been conclusively found nearby. Where the early galaxies are so distant, they are just red dots in Hubble deep-sky images. NGC 1277 offers a unique opportunity to see one up close and personal.

The telltale sign of the galaxy’s state lies in the ancient globular clusters that swarm around it. Massive galaxies tend to have both metal-poor (appearing blue) and metal-rich (appearing red) globular clusters. The red clusters are believed to form as the galaxy forms, while the blue clusters are later brought in as smaller satellites are swallowed by the central galaxy. However, NGC 1277 is almost entirely lacking in blue globular clusters. The red clusters are the strongest evidence that the galaxy went out of the star-making business long ago. However, the lack of blue clusters suggests that NGC 1277 never grew further by gobbling up surrounding galaxies.

NASA's Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in the Search for Interstellar Water
Fri, 09 Mar 2018 10:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

Most of the water in the universe floats in vast reservoirs called molecular clouds. It coats the surface of dust grains, turning them into cosmic snowflakes. When stars and planets form, those snowflakes get swept up, delivering key ingredients for life. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will map water and other cosmic ices to gain new insights into these building blocks for habitable planets.

Hubble Finds Huge System of Dusty Material Enveloping the Young Star HR 4796A
Tue, 06 Mar 2018 13:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

Finding lots of dust around stars may not sound like anything astronomers would get excited about. The universe is a dusty place. But dust around a young star can be evidence that planet formation is taking place. This isn’t a new idea. In 1755, German Philosopher Immanuel Kant first proposed that planets formed around our Sun in a debris disk of gas and dust. Astronomers imagined that this process might take place around other stars.

They had to wait until the early 1980s for the first observational evidence for a debris disk around any star to be uncovered. An edge-on debris disk was photographed around the southern star Beta Pictoris. Beta Pictoris remained the poster child for such debris systems until the late 1990s when the Hubble Space Telescope’s second-generation instruments, which had the capability of blocking out the glare of a central star, allowed many more disks to be photographed. Now, they are thought to be common around stars. About 40 such systems have been imaged to date, largely by Hubble.

In this recent image, Hubble uncovers a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A. A bright, narrow inner ring of dust is already known to encircle the star, based on much earlier Hubble photographs. It may have been corralled by the gravitational pull of an unseen giant planet. This newly discovered huge dust structure around the system may have implications for what this yet-unseen planetary system looks like around the 8-million-year-old star, which is in its formative years of planet construction.

NASA Finds a Large Amount of Water in an Exoplanet's Atmosphere
Thu, 01 Mar 2018 13:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

Using Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, scientists studied the “hot Saturn” called WASP-39b — a hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet located about 700 light-years from Earth. By dissecting starlight filtering through the planet’s atmosphere into its component colors, the team found clear evidence for a large amount of water vapor. In fact, WASP-39b has three times as much water as Saturn does. Although the researchers predicted they’d see water, they were surprised by how much they found. This suggests that the planet formed farther out from the star, where it was bombarded by a lot of icy material. Because WASP-39b has so much more water than Saturn, it must have formed differently from our famously ringed neighbor.

Improved Hubble Yardstick Gives Fresh Evidence for New Physics in the Universe
Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

The good news: Astronomers have made the most precise measurement to date of the rate at which the universe is expanding since the big bang. The possibly unsettling news: This may mean that there is something unknown about the makeup of the universe. The new numbers remain at odds with independent measurements of the early universe's expansion. Is something unpredicted going on in the depths of space?

Astronomers have come a long way since the early 1900s when they didn't have a clue that we lived in an expanding universe. Before this could be realized, astronomers needed an accurate celestial measuring stick to calculate distances to far-flung objects. At that time, faint, fuzzy patches of light that we now know as galaxies were thought by many astronomers to be objects inside our Milky Way. But, in 1913, Harvard astronomer Henrietta Leavitt discovered unique pulsating stars that maintain a consistent brightness no matter where they reside. Called Cepheid variables, these stars became reliable yardsticks for astronomers to measure cosmic distances from Earth.

A few years later, building on Leavitt's pioneering work, astronomer Edwin Hubble found a Cepheid variable star in the Andromeda nebula. By measuring the star's tremendous distance, Hubble proved that the nebula was really an entire galaxy — a separate island of billions of stars far outside our Milky Way.

He went on to find many more galaxies across space. When he used Cepheid variables to measure galaxy distances, he found that the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it appears to be receding from us. This led him to the monumental discovery that our universe is uniformly expanding in all directions. And, even the universe's age, which today we know is 13.8 billion years, could be calculated from the expansion rate.

Little would Leavitt have imagined that her Cepheid variable work would become the solid bottom rung of a cosmic distance ladder of interlinked techniques that would allow for measurements across billions of light-years.

The latest Hubble telescope results that solidify the cosmic ladder confirm a nagging discrepancy showing the universe is expanding faster now than was expected from its trajectory seen shortly after the big bang. Researchers suggest that there may be new physics at work to explain the inconsistency. One idea is that the universe contains a new high-speed subatomic particle. Another possibility is that dark energy, already known to be accelerating the cosmos, may be shoving galaxies away from each other with even greater — or growing — strength.

The Hubble study extends the number of Cepheid stars analyzed to distances of up to 10 times farther across our galaxy than previous Hubble results. The new measurements help reduce the chance that the discrepancy in the values is a coincidence to 1 in 5,000.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Reveal Secrets of the Red Planet
Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that’s left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity.

Hubble Sees Neptune's Mysterious Shrinking Storm
Thu, 15 Feb 2018 13:00:00 EST

Hubble Image

Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, stinky, dark storm is shrinking out of existence as seen in pictures of Neptune taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Immense dark storms on Neptune were first discovered in the late 1980s by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. Since then, only Hubble has tracked these elusive features that play a game of peek-a-boo over the years. Hubble found two dark storms that appeared in the mid-1990s and then vanished. This latest storm was first seen in 2015, but is now shrinking away. The dark spot material may be hydrogen sulfide, with the pungent smell of rotten eggs.