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Topic: Herschel Space Telescope

Herschel Space Observatory discovers pools of Invisible Hydrogen Gas in the Milky Way Galaxy

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Newly formed stars shine brightly, practically crying out, “Hey, look at me!” But not everything in our Milky Way galaxy is easy to see. The bulk of material between the stars in the galaxy — the cool hydrogen gas from which stars spring — is nearly impossible to find.

A new study from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation, is shining a light on these hidden pools of gas, revealing their whereabouts and quantities. In the same way that dyes are used to visualize swirling motions of transparent fluids, the Herschel team has used a new tracer to map the invisible hydrogen gas.

This illustration shows a newfound reservoir of stellar fuel discovered by the Herschel space observatory (red). (Image credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows a newfound reservoir of stellar fuel discovered by the Herschel space observatory (red). (Image credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Herschel Space Telescope completes mission

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The Herschel observatory, a European space telescope for which NASA helped build instruments and process data, has stopped making observations after running out of liquid coolant as expected.

The European Space Agency mission, launched almost four years ago, revealed the universe’s “coolest” secrets by observing the frigid side of planet, star and galaxy formation.

Herschel spacecraft artist's concept. (Copyright ESA/AOES Medialab)

Herschel spacecraft artist’s concept. (Copyright ESA/AOES Medialab)

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NASA’s Herschel Space Telescope links Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s Impact to water around Jupiter

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers have finally found direct proof that almost all water present in Jupiter’s stratosphere, an intermediate atmospheric layer, was delivered by comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which famously struck the planet in 1994.

The findings, based on new data from the Herschel space observatory, reveal more water in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, where the impacts occurred, than in the north. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.

This map shows the distribution of water in the stratosphere of Jupiter as measured with the Herschel space observatory. White and cyan indicate highest concentration of water, and blue indicates lesser amounts. The map has been superimposed over an image of Jupiter taken at visible wavelengths with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (Image credit: Water map: ESA/Herschel/T. Cavalié et al.; Jupiter image: NASA/ESA/Reta Beebe (New Mexico State University))

This map shows the distribution of water in the stratosphere of Jupiter as measured with the Herschel space observatory. White and cyan indicate highest concentration of water, and blue indicates lesser amounts. The map has been superimposed over an image of Jupiter taken at visible wavelengths with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (Image credit: Water map: ESA/Herschel/T. Cavalié et al.; Jupiter image: NASA/ESA/Reta Beebe (New Mexico State University))

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Herschel Space Telescope finds aging Star may still be forming Planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A star thought to have passed the age at which it can form planets may, in fact, be creating new worlds. The disk of material surrounding the surprising star called TW Hydrae may be massive enough to make even more planets than we have in our own solar system.

The findings were made using the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Telescope, a mission in which NASA is a participant.

At roughly 10 million years old and 176 light years away, TW Hydrae is relatively close to Earth by astronomical standards. Its planet-forming disk has been well studied. TW Hydrae is relatively young but, in theory, it is past the age at which giant planets already may have formed.

This artist's concept illustrates the planet-forming disk around TW Hydrae, located about 175 light-years away in the Hydra, or Sea Serpent, constellation. In 2011, astronomers used the Herschel space observatory to detect copious amounts of cool water vapor, illustrated in blue, emanating from the star's planet-forming disk of dust and gas. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept illustrates the planet-forming disk around TW Hydrae, located about 175 light-years away in the Hydra, or Sea Serpent, constellation. In 2011, astronomers used the Herschel space observatory to detect copious amounts of cool water vapor, illustrated in blue, emanating from the star’s planet-forming disk of dust and gas. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Herschel Space Telescope observes asteroid Apophis approach to Earth

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists using the Herschel Space Observatory made new observations of asteroid Apophis as it approached Earth this past weekend. 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 chance of impacting Earth in 2029. Additional observations of the asteroid ruled out any possibility of an impact in 2029.

The Photodetecting Array Camera and Spectrometer instrument aboard the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory captured asteroid Apophis in its field of view during the approach to Earth on January 5th and 6th, 2013. (Image credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/MACH-11/MPE/ESAC)

The Photo detecting Array Camera and Spectrometer instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory captured asteroid Apophis in its field of view during the approach to Earth on January 5th and 6th, 2013. (Image credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/MACH-11/MPE/ESAC)

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NASA reports Astronomers using Herschel space telescope discover planetary systems with vast Comet debris

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds. 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 important participation from NASA.

Last year, Herschel found that the dusty belt surrounding the nearby star Fomalhaut must be maintained by collisions between comets.

This artist's impression shows the orbits of planets and comets around the star 61 Vir, superimposed on a view from the Herschel Space Telescope. (Image credits: ESA/AOES)

This artist’s impression shows the orbits of planets and comets around the star 61 Vir, superimposed on a view from the Herschel Space Telescope. (Image credits: ESA/AOES)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) images shows Dust Disk orbiting Young Star has Mysteriously Disappeared

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Imagine if the rings of Saturn suddenly disappeared. Astronomers have witnessed the equivalent around a young sun-like star called TYC 8241 2652. Enormous amounts of dust known to circle the star are unexpectedly nowhere to be found.

“It’s like the classic magician’s trick: now you see it, now you don’t. Only in this case we’re talking about enough dust to fill an inner solar system and it really is gone!” said Carl Melis of the University of California, San Diego, who led the new study appearing in the July 5th issue of the journal Nature.

This artist's concept illustrates a dusty planet-forming disk, similar to the one that vanished around the star called TYC 8241 2652. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept illustrates a dusty planet-forming disk, similar to the one that vanished around the star called TYC 8241 2652. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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