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Astronomy & Space Science News :

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Global Gaia campaign reveals secrets of stellar pair
A 500-day global observation campaign spearheaded more than three years ago by ESA’s galaxy-mapping powerhouse Gaia has provided unprecedented insights into the binary system of stars that caused an unusual brightening of an even more distant star.

Building blocks of life spotted on Rosetta's comet hint at composition of its birthplace
Observations from ESA's Rosetta spacecraft are shedding light on the mysterious make-up of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, revealing a mix of compounds thought to be essential precursors to life – including salts of ammonium and a particular type of hydrocarbons. These new studies suggest the comet gleaned this mate-rial from the presolar cloud where the Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago.

XMM-Newton maps black hole surroundings
Material falling into a black hole casts X-rays out into space – and now, for the first time, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has used the reverberating echoes of this radiation to map the dynamic behaviour and surroundings of a black hole itself.

XMM-Newton discovers scorching gas in Milky Way's halo
ESA's XMM-Newton has discovered that gas lurking within the Milky Way's halo reaches far hotter temperatures than previously thought and has a different chemical make-up than predicted, challenging our understanding of our galactic home.

Mapping the cosmic journey of phosphorus with Rosetta and ALMA
Astronomers using the combined powers of ESA's Rosetta mission and the ground-based Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have traced the journey of phosphorus – one of life's building blocks – from star-forming regions to comets.

Huygens landing spin mystery solved
Fifteen years ago today, ESA's Huygens probe made history when it descended to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan and became the first probe to successfully land on another world in the outer Solar System. However, during its descent, the probe began spinning the wrong way – and recent tests now reveal why.

First sighting of hot gas sloshing in galaxy cluster
ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has spied hot gas sloshing around within a galaxy cluster – a never-before-seen behaviour that may be driven by turbulent merger events.

Switching on the CHEOPS instrument
The science instrument on ESA's Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, CHEOPS, was successfully activated on 8 January, marking the beginning of the mission's in-orbit commissioning.

Hubble Surveys Gigantic Galaxy [heic2002]
To kickstart the 30th anniversary year of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble has imaged a majestic spiral galaxy. Galaxy UGC 2885 may be the largest known in the local universe. It is 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars.

Liftoff for CHEOPS, ESA's exoplanet mission
ESA's CHEOPS mission lifted off on a Soyuz-Fregat launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 09:54:20 CET on 18 December on its exciting mission to characterise planets orbiting stars other than the Sun.






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