Press release


Hera’s cubesat to perform first radar probe of an asteroid

Published on May 06, 2019
Press release published by the ESA

Small enough to be an aircraft carry-on, the Juventas spacecraft nevertheless has big mission goals. Once in orbit around its target body, Juventas will unfurl an antenna larger than itself, to perform the very first subsurface radar survey of an asteroid.
ESA’s proposed Hera mission for planetary defence will explore the twin Didymos asteroids, but it will not go there alone: it will also serve as mothership for Europe’s first two ‘CubeSats’ to travel into deep space.
CubeSats are (...)

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Dancing with the Enemy

Published on December 17, 2018
Press release published by the 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 (...)

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Most Detailed Observations of Material Orbiting close to a Black Hole

Published on October 31, 2018
Press release published by the 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 July 26, 2018
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 July 17, 2018
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 July 02, 2018
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 June 18, 2018
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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ICE MEMORY: new drilling operations in Russia

Published on May 28, 2018
Press release published by the Fondation Université Grenoble Alpes

Collecting ice cores from glaciers most at risk from climate change and storing them in Antarctica for future generations of scientists: that is the goal of ICE MEMORY, an international programme aimed at preserving the climate and environmental memory of glaciers.
Following the two successful drillings in the Col du Dôme glacier in French Alps in August 2016 and on the Illimani glacier in Bolivia in June 2017, two further drilling expeditions will be conducted in Russia in May and June (...)

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Intermittent rivers affect global CO2 emissions

Published on May 21, 2018
Press release published by Irstea / UGA

The results of the first global study of the contribution that intermittent rivers make to carbon cycling
A collaborative study involving 94 international partners was led by researchers from IRSTEA, the Laboratoire d’écologie alpine / OSUG (LECA) , the University of the Basque Country and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries. This research, published on May 21st in Nature Geoscience, represents the first global study of the contribution that intermittent rivers (...)

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Similar evolutionary paths in the domestication of goats and sheep

Published on March 06, 2018
Press release published by UGA/CNRS/USMB

By comparing the genome changes observed in goat and sheep, researchers has taken the first step towards characterising the genetic basis underpinning the ‘domestication syndrome’.
During domestication processes, humans have shaped the characteristics of wild species in order to exploit them. The genetic mechanisms behind induced changes are still poorly understood to this day, including those that would explain the occurrence of similar traits in different domestic species. However, by (...)

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