European Space Agency News

Entranced by a Transit – Cassini Views Dione as it Crosses the Face of Saturn

August 31, 2015

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Image of Saturn's Moon Dione Crossing the Face of Saturn

The Cassini Spacecraft views the moon Dione as it transits Saturn. Saturn’s moon Dione crosses the face of the giant planet in this view, a phenomenon astronomers call a transit. Transits play an important role in astronomy and can be used to study the orbits of planets and their atmospheres, both in our solar system […]

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Newly Released Hubble Image of Spiral Galaxy Messier 96

August 31, 2015

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 96

This newly released image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Messier 96, a spiral galaxy just over 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). Messier 96 is about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781, and added to Charles […]

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ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory Views Cosmic Cloud Mon R2

August 24, 2015

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Herschel Space Observatory Views Feathery Filaments in Mon R2

This new image from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveals fierce flashes of light rippling through delicate tendrils of gas in the heart of a large and dense cosmic cloud known as Mon R2. This cloud lies some 2700 light-years away and is studded with hot, newly-formed stars. Packed into the bright center of this region […]

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Newly Released Hubble Image of Globular Cluster NGC 1783

August 24, 2015

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New Hubble Image of Globular Cluster NGC 1783

This newly released Hubble image shows globular cluster NGC 1783, which is about 160,000 light-years from Earth. Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large […]

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Jakobshavn Glacier Sheds a Massive Chunk of Ice

August 23, 2015

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Optical Image of Jakobshavn Glacier in Western Greenland Shows Massive Calving Event

New ESA satellite images show that the fastest moving glacier in the world (the Jakobshavn glacier) shed a massive chunk of ice measuring around 12.5 square kilometers – one of the most significant calving events on record. Radar images from Sentinel-1A captured the Jakobshavn glacier in western Greenland before and after the event, which took […]

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Rosetta Views Comet 67P Making Its Closest Approach to the Sun

August 17, 2015

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Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Makes Its Closest Approach to the Sun

ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft views Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun, coming within 186 million km of the Sun. In the year that has passed since Rosetta arrived, the comet has traveled some 750 million kilometers along its orbit towards the Sun, the increasing solar radiation heating up the nucleus and causing its […]

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Rosetta Spacecraft Views an Outburst from Comet 67P

August 12, 2015

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Outburst from Comet 67P Viewed by Rosetta

A new set of images from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft shows a short-lived outburst from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has been witnessing growing activity from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as the comet approaches perihelion (its closest point to the sun during its orbit). On July 29, while the spacecraft orbited at […]

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Hubble Image of Planetary Nebula NGC 6818

August 9, 2015

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New Hubble Image of Planetary Nebula NGC 6818

This newly released Hubble image shows planetary nebula NGC 6818, which is located 6,000 light-years away from Earth. This colorful bubble is a planetary nebula called NGC 6818, also known as the Little Gem Nebula. It is located in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), roughly 6,000 light-years away from us. The rich glow of […]

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XMM-Newton Views Born-Again Planetary Nebula Abell 78

August 6, 2015

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Image of Born-Again Planetary Nebula Abell 78

This newly released image from the XMM-Newton satellite shows Abell 78 – the second born-again planetary nebula discovered. Beneath the vivid hues of this eye-shaped cloud, named Abell 78, a tale of stellar life and death is unfolding. At the center of the nebula, a dying star – not unlike our Sun – which shed […]

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CryoSat Satellite Shows Increased Volume of Arctic Sea Ice

July 21, 2015

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ESA Shows Volume of Arctic Sea Ice Has Increased

New measurements from ESA’s CryoSat Satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice increased following the unusually cool summer of 2013, suggesting that ice in the northern hemisphere is more sensitive to changes in summer melting than it is to winter cooling. Scientists at University College London (UCL) and the University of Leeds in […]

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ESA Selects Contractor for JUICE Mission to Jupiter and Its Icy Moons

July 17, 2015

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ESA Prepares for the JUICE Mission

Airbus Defence & Space in France has been selected as the prime industrial contractor for ESA’s JUICE mission to Jupiter and its icy moons. The spacecraft should be launched in 2022 and arrive in the Jovian system in 2030. The agency’s Industrial Policy Committee approved the award of the €350.8 million contract yesterday. Pending the […]

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“Black-Hole-Scope” Provides Insight into Space Directly Surrounding a Supermassive Black Hole

July 6, 2015

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Astronomers Use Cosmic Gravity to Create "Black Hole Telescope"

Astronomers used the magnifying effect of the stars to ‘zoom in’ on galaxy PKS 1830-211, revealing very small structures in the distant galaxy. The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole. Gamma rays are highly energetic radiation […]

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New ESA Image of the Milky Way and of Its Neighboring Magellanic Clouds

July 3, 2015

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An Outline of the Milky Way and of Its Neighboring Magellanic Clouds

This newly released image from the European Space Agency shows the outline of our Galaxy and of its neighboring Magellanic Clouds. This image, based on housekeeping data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, is no ordinary depiction of the heavens. While the image portrays the outline of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and of its neighboring Magellanic […]

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Rosetta Monitors Active Pits on Comet 67P

July 1, 2015

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Active Pits on Comet 67P

A newly published study reveals that 18 quasi-circular pits in the northern hemisphere of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s are responsible for its halo of dust and gas. A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ […]

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Dissolution is a Major Cause of Landscape Evolution on Titan, Possible Origin of Its Lakes

June 17, 2015

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Close-up Image of Ligeia Mare

New research reveals that Titan’s surface dissolves in a similar process that creates sinkholes on Earth, finding that the dissolution process occurs on Titan some 30 times slower than on Earth due to the longer length of Titan’s year and the fact it only rains during Titan summer. Saturn’s moon Titan is home to seas […]

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Rosetta and Philae Reveal That Comet 67P is Not Magnetized

April 14, 2015

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Investigating Magnetic Properties of Comet 67P

New data from Rosetta and Philae reveal that the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is not magnetized. Studying the properties of a comet can provide clues to the role that magnetic fields played in the formation of Solar System bodies almost 4.6 billion years ago. The infant Solar System was once nothing more than a swirling […]

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A Closer Look at the Colors of the Small Magellanic Cloud

February 23, 2015

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New Image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

This composite image used data from Herschel’s Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS), and Spitzer’s Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) to get a better view of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Astronomical images often look like works of art. This picture of one of our nearest neighboring galaxies, the Small Magellanic […]

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Satellite-Based Assessment of Ocean Acidification

February 17, 2015

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Ocean Acidification

Using satellite measurements, researchers a team of international collaborators are developing new methods to quantify ocean acidity around the globe. With fundamental changes happening to the chemistry of the world’s oceans, salinity information from ESA’s SMOS mission is being used with other Earth observation data to obtain information on ‘the other carbon dioxide problem’ – […]

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