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Latest Herschel Space Observatory Stories

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2010-11-05 06:20:00

It turns out the Herschel Space Observatory has a trick up its sleeve. The telescope, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions, has proven to be excellent at finding magnified, faraway galaxies. Like little kids probing patches of dirt for insects, astronomers can use these new cosmic magnifying lenses to study galaxies that are hidden in dust. "I was surprised to learn that Herschel is so good at finding these cosmic lenses," said Asantha Cooray of the University of...

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2010-10-14 09:00:00

The Sculptor galaxy is shown in different infrared hues, in this new mosaic from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The main picture is a composite of infrared light captured with all four of the space telescope's infrared detectors. The red image at bottom right shows the galaxy's active side. Infant stars are heating up their dusty cocoons, particularly in the galaxy's core, making the Sculptor galaxy burst with infrared light. This light -- color-coded red in this view --...

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2010-09-20 13:10:00

The Herschel Space Observatory is providing the first exciting results on Mars, from its guaranteed-time key program "Water and related chemistry in the Solar System." An accurate globally-averaged temperature profile of the Martian atmosphere may cause scientists to revise their models about atmospheric circulation on Mars. The first sub-millimeter observation of molecular oxygen on the planet may lead to a completely new picture of the oxygen distribution in the Martian atmosphere. These...

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2010-09-02 06:40:00

CW Leonis, a star some 500 light-years from Earth, has become a recent hot topic for scientists, who have long known it to be surrounded by a shroud of water. The star, twice as massive as our Sun, has been looked on by Europe's Herschel space telescope as an old giant star wallowing in a "Ëœsteam bath'. Herschel's superb ability to track the water molecules in space means it can show that the water lies close in to the star and reaches nearly 1300 degrees F. "Herschel really is...

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2010-08-22 09:48:14

A European gravity observation satellite has been hit by a second computer glitch and is not able to transmit its valuable data down to Earth.Europe's Goce satellite, launched on 17 March, 2009, is a satellite carrying a highly sensitive gravity gradiometer which detects fine density differences in the crust and oceans of the Earth. Its main mission is to make the most precise maps yet of how gravity varies across the globe.The satellite suffered a processor fault in February forcing...

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2010-08-19 10:20:00

Neptune will be in line with the Earth and the sun--a condition known as opposition--on August 20, bringing the planet a step closer to completing its first full orbit since being discovered.The bluish-green planet was officially discovered on September 23, 1846, though it had been observed before then. In fact, according to Space.com, Galileo Galilei first observed Neptune in 1612, though at the time he believed it was a star.In the 1840s, in response to a longstanding theory that a nearby...

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2010-07-16 08:03:38

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature devoted to the first science results obtained with Herschel, an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. Herschel was launched on May 14, 2009, and progress since launch with various webreleases can be followed on the Herschel Science Centre Latest News webpage at http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml. Herschel has a...

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2010-06-23 11:15:00

When you ask an astronomer about the James Webb Space Telescope's orbit, they'll tell you something that sounds like it came from a science-fiction novel. The Webb won't be orbiting the Earth "“ instead we will send it almost a million miles out into space to a place called "L2." L2 is short-hand for the second Lagrange Point, a wonderful accident of gravity and orbital mechanics, and the perfect place to park the Webb telescope in space. There are five so-called "Lagrange Points" -...

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2010-06-10 07:43:47

Yesterday in Paris, ESA's Herschel and Planck science missions were honored by the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics. The association's Grand Prix 2010 award for "outstanding space endeavors" was bestowed upon these groundbreaking missions. Every year, the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAAF) dedicates awards to those who have demonstrated true success and made significant advances. This year, the teams responsible for ESA's Herschel and Planck...

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2010-05-21 07:54:48

Early data from largest astronomical telescope analyzed by UCI team For more than a decade, astronomers have been puzzled by bright galaxies in the distant universe that appear to be forming stars at phenomenal rates. What prompted the prolific star creation, they wondered. And what kind of spatial environment did these galaxies inhabit? Now, using a super-sensitive camera/spectrometer on the Herschel Space Observatory, astronomers "“ including a UC Irvine team led by Asantha Cooray...