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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Latest Herschel Space Observatory Stories

Image 1 - Astronomers Detect Water-Covered Planets
2011-10-20 13:44:37

The Herschel Space Observatory has helped astronomers detect water-covered planets like Earth around a young star. The astronomers used data from Herschel to detect cold water vapor enveloping a dusty disk around the young star.  This is the first time scientists have found evidence of vast quantities of water extending out into the cooler, far reaches of disks where comets take shape.  The more water available in disks for icy comets to form, the greater the chances that...

2011-10-05 13:03:00

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Astronomers have found a new cosmic source for the same kind of water that appeared on Earth billions of years ago and created the oceans. The findings may help explain how Earth's surface ended up covered in water. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) New measurements from the Herschel Space Observatory show that comet Hartley 2, which comes from the distant Kuiper Belt, contains water with the same chemical...

Image 1 - Comet Found To Contain Ocean-Like Water
2011-10-05 14:10:47

According to a new study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, the Earth's ocean may have been created by comets. Measurements taken from the Herschel Space Observatory show that comet Hartley 2 contains water with the same chemical signature as Earth's oceans. This comet lies in the Kuiper Belt about 30 to 50 times as far away as the distance between Earth and the sun. "Our results with Herschel suggest that comets could have played a major role in bringing vast amounts of...

Enceladus Influences Saturn's Chemical Composition
2011-09-21 12:59:20

   Chalk up one more feat for Saturn's intriguing moon Enceladus. The small, dynamic moon spews out dramatic plumes of water vapor and ice -- first seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2005. It possesses simple organic particles and may house liquid water beneath its surface. Its geyser-like jets create a gigantic halo of ice, dust and gas around Enceladus that helps feed Saturn's E ring. Now, thanks again to those icy jets, Enceladus is the only moon in our solar system known to...

Image 1 - Herschel Probes Dusty Past Of A Giant Star
2011-09-20 08:52:45

  About 5 thousand million years from now, our Sun will expand into a red giant, swelling to such a size that it may swallow the Earth. It will then begin to shed huge amounts of dust, surrounding itself with an expanding circumstellar envelope (CSE) that ultimately will become a planetary nebula. New insights into this process have been revealed by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, which is providing unprecedented images of the complex, outer structure of a nearby CSE. As part of...

Ariane 5 To Launch BepiColombo Mercury Explorer
2011-09-16 07:19:04

  Reaching one of the most mysterious planets in our Solar System takes enormous power and finesse. ESA has now firmly entrusted its precious Mercury explorer to Europe´s largest rocket — the Ariane 5. ESA today signed the contract with Arianespace to launch its BepiColombo mission on an Ariane 5 from Europe´s Spaceport in French Guiana. Europe's first mission to probe the Solar System's innermost planet will depart in July 2014. BepiColombo's sensors will...

Image 1 - Collisions Not Needed For Star Formation
2011-09-13 09:46:39

  ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that galaxies do not need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns this long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve. The conclusion is based on Herschel's observations of two patches of sky, each about a third of the size of the full Moon. It's like looking through a keyhole across the Universe — Herschel has seen more than a thousand galaxies...

2011-08-01 10:00:00

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Herschel Space Observatory's large telescope and state-of-the-art infrared detectors have provided the first confirmed finding of oxygen molecules in space. The molecules were discovered in the Orion star-forming complex. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Individual atoms of oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. But, molecular oxygen, which makes up about 20 percent of the air we...

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2011-08-01 10:30:00

The Herschel Space Observatory's large telescope and state-of-the-art infrared detectors have provided the first confirmed finding of oxygen molecules in space. The molecules were discovered in the Orion star-forming complex. Individual atoms of oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. But, molecular oxygen, which makes up about 20 percent of the air we breathe, has eluded astronomers until now. "Oxygen gas was discovered in the 1770s, but it's taken us more than 230...

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2011-07-20 10:21:36

New observations from the Herschel Space Observatory show a bizarre, twisted ring of dense gas at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Only a few portions of the ring, which stretches across more than 600 light-years, were known before. Herschel's view reveals the entire ring for the first time, and a strange kink that has astronomers scratching their heads. "We have looked at this region at the center of the Milky Way many times before in the infrared," said Alberto Noriega-Crespo of NASA's...