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Astronomy & Space Science News :

|   ESA |   Planetary.org | 


Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:00:00 UT

ESA identifies new science ideas for future space missions
Last year, ESA called on the scientific community to propose new and innovative science ideas that could be relevant for future space missions within the Science Programme. From the proposals that were received three key areas of interest have been selected for further investigation.

Hubble observes first multiple images of explosive distance indicator [heic1710]
A Swedish-led team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to analyse the multiple images of a gravitationally lensed type Ia supernova for the first time. The four images of the exploding star will be used to measure the expansion of the Universe. This can be done without any theoretical assumptions about the cosmological model, giving further clues about how fast the Universe is really expanding. The results are published in the journal Science.

Gaia's snapshot of another galaxy
While compiling an unprecedented census of one billion stars in our Galaxy, ESA's Gaia mission is also surveying stars beyond our Milky Way. A new image of M33, also known as the Triangulum galaxy, shows tens of thousands of stars detected by Gaia, including a small stellar census in its star-forming region NGC 604. This is a striking example of the mission's potential to detect and characterise stars in nearby galaxies.

Hubble celebrates 27 years with two close friends [heic1709]
This stunning cosmic pairing of the two very different looking spiral galaxies NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 was imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The image brilliantly captures their warm stellar glow and brown, mottled patterns of dust. As a perfect demonstration of Hubble's capabilities, this spectacular view has been released as part of the telescope's 27th anniversary celebrations.

Two million stars on the move
The changing face of our Galaxy is revealed in a new video from ESA’s Gaia mission. The motion of two million stars is traced 5 million years into the future using data from the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution, one of the products of the first Gaia data release. This provides a preview of the stellar motions that will be revealed in Gaia's future data releases, which will enable scientists to investigate the formation history of our Galaxy.

O marks the spot for magnetic reconnection
ESA's Cluster mission is challenging the current view of magnetic reconnection – the breaking and immediate rearrangement of magnetic field lines in the collision of two plasma flows. According to a new study, most of the energy dissipated during a reconnection event is not released at the crossings, or X-lines, between the two plasma flows but rather in swirling vortices, or O-lines, where magnetic field lines bundle up and spiral together. The new finding, which contradicts the accepted consensus, is an important step in the process of understanding the mechanisms that accelerate particles in space plasma.

Third Announcement of Opportunity for Science Planners in the NASA-led IRIS mission


INTEGRAL Announcement of Opportunity (AO-15)
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.

Call for nominations for the JWST user committee (JSTUC)
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.

ESA Planetary Science Archive gets a new look
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.

Next step towards a gravitational-wave observatory in space
Today, ESA has invited European scientists to propose concepts for the third large mission in its science programme, to study the gravitational Universe.






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