Herschel Telescope Detects Water on Dwarf Planet Ceres

Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Plumes of water vapor are thought to shoot up periodically from Ceres when portions
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Cassini Sees Saturn and Moons in Holiday Dress

Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, are dressed and dazzling in a special package assembled by Cassini’s imaging team. “During this, our 10th holiday season at Saturn, we hope that these images from Cassini remind everyone the world over of the significance (more...)

Chemical Surprise Found in Crab Nebula

Astronomers have discovered a rare chemical pairing in the remains of an exploded star called the Crab Nebula. A gas thought to be a loner has made a “friend,” linking up with a chemical partner to form a molecule. The discovery, made with the European Space (more...)

Titan’s Polar Vortex Stands Out in Darkness

The sunlit edge of Titan’s south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft’s images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude — where sunlight can still reach (more...)

Cassini Releases Image of Earth Waving at Saturn

People around the world shared more than 1,400 images of themselves as part of the Wave at Saturn event organized by NASA’s Cassini mission on July 19 — the day the Cassini spacecraft turned back toward Earth to take our picture. The mission has assembled a (more...)

Europe’s Herschel Hunts Massive Stars

In this new view of a vast star-forming cloud called W3, the Herschel space observatory tells the story of how massive stars are born. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with NASA contributions. W3 is a giant gas cloud containing an enormous stellar nursery, some 6,200 (more...)

Saturn Is Like an Antiques Shop, Cassini Suggests

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that Saturn’s moons and rings are gently worn vintage goods from around the time of the solar system’s birth. Though they are tinted on the surface from recent “pollution,” these bodies date back more than 4 billion years. (more...)

Cool, New Views of Andromeda Galaxy

Two new eye-catching views from the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory are fit for a princess. They show the elegant spiral galaxy Andromeda, named after the mythical Greek princess known for her beauty. The Andromeda galaxy lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large (more...)

NASA Joins European Space Agency’s “Dark Universe” Mission

NASA has joined the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, a space telescope designed to investigate the cosmological mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Euclid will launch in 2020 and spend six years mapping the locations and measuring the shapes of as many as 2 billion galaxies spread (more...)

Herschel Spacecraft Eyes Asteroid Apophis

Scientists using the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory made new observations of asteroid Apophis as it passed near Earth January 9. The data show the asteroid to be bigger than first estimated, and less reflective. Discovered in 2004, Apophis was initially thought to have a 2.7 percent (more...)

Herschel Serves Up Solar Systems with Extra Comets

Astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host planets. These cometary belts could have delivered oceans to the innermost planets. The findings are based on observations from the Herschel space telescope, a European Space Agency mission with participation from NASA. Last
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Now in Saturn’s Orbit, Cassini Marks 15th Anniversary

By Charlene Porter
Staff Writer
An unmanned spacecraft orbiting Saturn celebrated a solitary anniversary of 15 years in flight October 15, still on the job, sending back data about the ringed planet in our solar system. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been managing the Cassini mission since its launch (more...)

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