Chinese Chang’e 3 spacecraft on Dec. 14, 2013 became the first probe to soft land on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.
Cosmologists may have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today. Galaxies like our Milky Way, with its 100 billion stars, are usually not found in isolation. 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang, many are in dense clusters of tens, hundreds or even thousands of galaxies.
European Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) was launched on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on Feb. 11.
The spacecraft was then released into a suborbital trajectory, and flew autonomously, reentering and splashing down into the Pacific Ocean after 100 minutes. This crucial test for ESA has exceeded scientists’ expectations as IXV behaved flawlessly, responding to conditions so precisely and promptly.
The study of fluids in motion – now known as hydrodynamics – goes back to the Egyptians so it has been involved in a lot of experiments but now it has provided something new; experimental evidence that stars may generate...sound.
Dark matter is an umbrella term for matter that no one has directly detected but must be out there or physics at the very large scale makes even less sense than it makes now. Since it does not reflect, absorb or emit light, it is invisible, so whatever it 'is' is only known to exist via its gravitational effects on matter as we know it.
We may have Jupiter to thank for our unusual solar system.
Before the inner planets we now call Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars formed, a great inward-and-then-outward journey that Jupiter made early in the solar system's history may have torn apart a number of super-Earths - planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune - and caused their giant remnants to fall into the sun billions of years ago.
One of astronomy's big questions is why galaxies forming as recently as 1 billion years after the Big Bang contain so much dust. The leading hypothesis is that supernovae, stars that explode at the end of their lives, contain large amounts of metal-enriched material that, in turn, harbors key ingredients of dust, like silicon, iron and carbon.
In 1670, the greatest astronomers, including Cassini and Hevelius, the father of lunar cartography, documented the appearance of a new star in the skies.
Hevelius described it as nova sub capite Cygni — a new star below the head of the Swan — and now it is officially known it by the name Nova Vulpeculae 1670. It lies within the boundaries of the modern constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox), just across the border from Cygnus (The Swan) and is also referred to as Nova Vul 1670 and CK Vulpeculae, its designation as a variable star.
Historical accounts of novae are rare and Nova Vul 1670 is both the oldest recorded nova and the faintest nova when later recovered.
Just like the Pharaoh Cheops, who ruled the ancient Old Kingdom of Egypt, ESA’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) could be someday ruling in the field of exoplanet hunting.
ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has made the first measurement of molecular nitrogen at a comet, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, providing clues about the temperature environment in which it formed.