Press release


Mars rover switches off but Mars exploration goes on

Published on February 15, 2019

The Mars Exploration Rover landed successfully in 2004 on the red planet. These two rovers were initially build to operate 3 months on the Martian surface ; fifteen years later NASA announced the termination of the mission, after losing contact with the last of the two rovers. A truly extraordinary voyage on the Martian surface has ended.
Still, Mars exploration roves on. The Curiosity rover (NASA) will celebrate its 7th years on Mars this summer, and continues its climb up the central (...)

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New Horizons Successfully Explores the Kuiper Belt object ‘Ultima Thule’

Published on January 28, 2019

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year’s Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system. In addition to being the first to explore Pluto, New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft and became the first to directly explore an object that holds remnants from the birth of our solar system.
New (...)

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GAIA hints at our galaxy’s turbulent life

Published on January 28, 2019

ESA’s star mapping mission, Gaia, has shown our Milky Way galaxy is still enduring the effects of a near collision that set millions of stars moving like ripples on a pond.
The close encounter likely took place sometime in the past 300–900 million years. It was discovered because of the pattern of movement it has given to stars in the Milky Way disc – one of the major components of our Galaxy.
The pattern was revealed because Gaia not only accurately measures the positions of more than a (...)

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First detection of the simplest organic acid in the protoplanetary disk surrounding a Sun-like young star

Published on January 28, 2019
This article has been published by L’Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

The formation of planets and the origin of life are among the most intriguing questions for mankind. Using ALMA, an international group of astronomers, including researchers from the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG, UGA/CNRS) [1], have reported the first detection of formic acid towards the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disk, located at only 190 light years from our Sun. This result has been published the 16th july 2018 in Astrophysical journal letters.
Our current (...)

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Dancing with the Enemy

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published by ESO

While testing a new subsystem on the SPHERE planet-hunting instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers were able to capture dramatic details of the turbulent stellar relationship in the binary star R Aquarii with unprecedented clarity — even compared to observations from Hubble. This project involved researchers from IPAG / OSUG (CNRS, University Grenoble Alpes).
This spectacular image — the second instalment in ESO’s R Aquarii Week — shows intimate details of the dramatic stellar duo (...)

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Most Detailed Observations of Material Orbiting close to a Black Hole

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published by ESO

ESO’s exquisitely sensitive GRAVITY instrument has added further evidence to the long-standing assumption that a supermassive black hole lurks in the centre of the Milky Way. New observations show clumps of gas swirling around at about 30% of the speed of light on a circular orbit just outside its event horizon — the first time material has been observed orbiting close to the point of no return, and the most detailed observations yet of material orbiting this close to a black hole.
ESO’s (...)

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First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published by CNRS/UGA/Observatoire de Paris/Université Sorbonne/Université Paris Diderot

Observations of the Galactic Centre team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.
This long-sought result represents the climax of a 26-year-long observation campaign using ESO’s telescopes in Chile.
Obscured by thick clouds of absorbing dust, the (...)

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Planck : final data from the mission lends strong support to the standard cosmological model

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published by CNRS / CNES

Our Universe would be well constituted to 95% of matter and dark energy whose nature remains unknown.
In 2013, ESA’s Planck mission unveiled a new image of the cosmos : an all-sky survey of the microwave radiation produced at the beginning of the Universe. This first light emitted by the Universe provides a wealth of information about its content, its rate of expansion, and the primordial fluctuations in density that were the precursors of the galaxies. The Planck consortium publishes the (...)

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First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet Caught with ESO’s VLT

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published on July 2, 2018 by ESO

SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has captured the first confirmed image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young star. The young planet is carving a path through the primordial disc of gas and dust around the very young star PDS 70. The data suggest that the planet’s atmosphere is cloudy.
Astronomers led by a group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany have captured a spectacular snapshot of (...)

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ALMA Discovers Trio of Infant Planets around Newborn Star

Published on January 28, 2019
Press release published on june 13, 2018 by the ESO and CNRS

Two independent teams of astronomers have used ALMA to uncover convincing evidence that three young planets are in orbit around the infant star HD 163296. Using a novel planet-finding technique, the astronomers identified three disturbances in the gas-filled disc around the young star : the strongest evidence yet that newly formed planets are in orbit there. These are considered the first planets to be discovered with ALMA.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has (...)

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