esa science news
News on the space science missions of the European Space Agency
Updated: 7 weeks 5 days ago
Three decades ago, a massive stellar explosion sent shockwaves not only through space but also through the astronomical community. SN 1987A was the closest observed supernova to Earth since the invention of the telescope and has become by far the best studied of all time, revolutionising our understanding of the explosive death of massive stars.
ESA's XMM-Newton has found a pulsar – the spinning remains of a once-massive star – that is a thousand times brighter than previously thought possible.
Proposals are solicited for observations with INTEGRAL in response to the Fifteenth Announcement of Opportunity, AO-15, issued 20 February 2017. This AO covers the period January 2018 to December 2018.
STScI has issued a call for expressions of interest from community members who would like to serve as members of the James Webb Space Telescope Users Committee (JSTUC). At least two members of JSTUC will be astronomers from ESA member states. The deadline for receipt of nominations is 14 February 2017.
An important milestone has been passed in the development of Euclid, a pioneering ESA mission to observe billions of faint galaxies and investigate the nature of dark matter and dark energy. The first flight hardware, in the form of four detectors known as Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs), has been delivered to Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) by UK company e2v. The remaining flight CCDs (36 in total) for the visible imager (VIS) will be delivered to MSSL by June.
Scientists observing a curious neutron star in a binary system known as the 'Rapid Burster' may have solved a forty-year-old mystery surrounding its puzzling X-ray bursts. They discovered that its magnetic field creates a gap around the star, largely preventing it from feeding on matter from its stellar companion. Gas builds up until, under certain conditions, it hits the neutron star all at once, producing intense flashes of X-rays. The discovery was made with space telescopes including ESA's XMM-Newton.
Whilst best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA's Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the Solar System. Now, for the first time, Gaia is not only providing information crucial to understanding known asteroids, it has also started to look for new ones, previously unknown to astronomers.
Today, ESA launches a new version of its Planetary Science Archive (PSA) website, the online interface to data from the agency's space science missions that have been exploring planets, moons and other small bodies in the Solar System. With a new design and enhanced search functionalities, the platform now provides a direct and simple access to the scientific data, helping scientists to discover and explore the archive content.
Today, ESA has invited European scientists to propose concepts for the third large mission in its science programme, to study the gravitational Universe.
Today, ESA's LISA Pathfinder Science Archive opens its virtual gates to the world. It contains data collected by the satellite during the mission's first few months, covering the nominal operations phase of the LISA Technology Package (LTP) – the European payload on LISA Pathfinder.