ESA Space Science

ESA Space Science

07/12/2024 10:00 AM
Vivid Webb portrait of interacting galaxies Penguin and Egg
Vivid Webb portrait of interacting galaxies Pinguin and Egg

A duo of interacting galaxies known as Arp 142 commemorates the second science anniversary of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

07/10/2024 11:00 AM
Hubble finds evidence for rare black hole in Omega Centauri

An international team of astronomers has used more than 500 images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope spanning two decades to detect seven fast-moving stars in the innermost region of Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. These stars provide compelling new evidence for the presence of an intermediate-mass black hole.

07/05/2024 04:00 AM
Webb admires bejewelled ring
Webb admires bejewelled ring Image: Webb admires bejewelled ring
07/03/2024 05:00 AM
A snaking scar on Mars
A snaking scar on Mars

A fascinating feature takes centre stage in this new image from ESA’s Mars Express: a dark, uneven scar slicing through marbled ground at the foot of a giant volcano.

07/01/2024 04:00 AM
Happy launch anniversary, Euclid!
Video: 00:00:48

Several team members wish Euclid a happy first launch anniversary in their own language. ESA’s Euclid satellite launched on 1 July 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9, and now resides in an orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. During its mission, Euclid will observe billions of galaxies out to ten billion light-years over one third of the sky to study dark matter and dark energy.   

The team members in order of appearance: 

Prof. Carole Mundell – ESA Director of Science,  

Dr. Valeria Pettorino – Euclid Project Scientist, 

Iris Nijman – Euclid communication team,  

Dr. René Laureijs – Euclid Project Scientist, 

Dr. Teymoor Saifollahi – Strasbourg Observatory/CNES, 

Jerry Zhang – Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, 

John Hoar – Euclid science operations, 

Dr. Jean-Charles Cuillandre – CEA Paris-Saclay, 

Dr. Karina Voggel – Strasbourg Observatory, 

Dr. Marusa Zerjal – Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, 

Dr. Francesca Annibali – INAF-OAS, Bologna. 

06/25/2024 04:00 AM
Jupiter’s upper atmosphere surprises astronomers

Using the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, scientists observed the region above Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot to discover a variety of previously unseen features. The region, previously believed to be unremarkable in nature, hosts a variety of intricate structures and activity.

06/24/2024 11:00 AM
Webb captures star clusters in Cosmic Gems arc

An international team of astronomers have used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to discover gravitationally bound star clusters when the Universe was 460 million years old. This is the first discovery of star clusters in an infant galaxy less than 500 million years after the Big Bang.

06/18/2024 01:45 PM
Metallic Mars
Metallic Mars Image: Metallic Mars
06/11/2024 04:00 AM
First Plato camera
First Plato camera Image: First Plato camera
05/30/2024 10:00 AM
Webb finds most distant known galaxy

Using the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, scientists have found a record-breaking galaxy observed only 290 million years after the Big Bang.

Over the last two years, scientists have used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to explore what astronomers refer to as cosmic dawn – the period in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang where the first galaxies were born. These galaxies provide vital insight into the ways in which the gas, stars, and black holes were changing when the Universe was very young. In October 2023 and January 2024, an international team of astronomers used Webb to observe galaxies as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) programme. Using Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph), scientists obtained a spectrum of a record-breaking galaxy observed only two hundred and ninety million years after the Big Bang. This corresponds to a redshift of about 14, which is a measure of how much a galaxy’s light is stretched by the expansion of the Universe.

This infrared image from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) was captured as part of the JADES programme. The NIRCam data was used to determine which galaxies to study further with spectroscopic observations. One such galaxy, JADES-GS-z14-0 (shown in the pullout), was determined to be at a redshift of 14.32 (+0.08/-0.20), making it the current record-holder for the most distant known galaxy. This corresponds to a time less than 300 million years after the Big Bang.

In the background image, blue represents light at 0.9, 1.15, and 1.5 microns (filters F090W + F115W + F150W), green is 2.0 and 2.77 microns (F200W + F277W), and red is 3.56, 4.1, and 4.44 microns (F356W + F410M + F444W). The pullout image shows light at 0.9 and 1.15 microns (F090W + F115W) as blue, 1.5 and 2.0 microns (F150W + F200W) as green, and 2.77 microns (F277W) as red.

These results were captured as part of spectroscopic observations from the Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO) programme 1287, and the accompanying MIRI data as part of GTO programme 1180.

Note: This post highlights data from Webb science in progress, which has not yet been through the peer-review process.

[Image description: A field of thousands of small galaxies of various shapes and colours on the black background of space. A bright, foreground star with diffraction spikes is at lower left. Near the image centre, a tiny white box outlines a region and two diagonal lines lead to a box in the upper right. Within the box is a banana-shaped blob that is blueish-red in one half and distinctly red in the other half. An arrow points to the redder portion and is labeled 'JADES GS z 14 – 0'.]

Release on

05/29/2024 11:00 AM
Fly across Nili Fossae with ESA’s Mars Express
Video: 00:03:29

Mars’s surface is covered in all manner of scratches and scars. Its many marks include the fingernail scratches of Tantalus Fossae, the colossal canyon system of Valles Marineris, the oddly orderly ridges of Angustus Labyrinthus, and the fascinating features captured in today’s video release from Mars Express: the cat scratches of Nili Fossae.

Nili Fossae comprises parallel trenches hundreds of metres deep and several hundred kilometres long, stretching out along the eastern edge of a massive impact crater named Isidis Planitia.

This new video features observations from Mars Express's High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It first flies northwards towards and around these large trenches, showing their fractured, uneven appearance, before turning back to head southwards. It ends by zooming out to a ‘bird’s eye’ view, with the landing site of NASA’s Perseverance rover, Jezero Crater, visible in the lower-middle part of the final scene. (You can explore this crater further via ESA’s interactive map.)

The trenches of Nili Fossae are actually features known as ‘graben’, which form when the ground sitting between two parallel faults fractures and falls away. As the graben seem to curve around Isidis Planitia, it’s likely that they formed as Mars’s crust settled following the formation of the crater by an incoming space rock hitting the surface. Similar ruptures – the counterpart to Nili Fossae – are found on the other side of the crater, and named Amenthes Fossae.

Scientists have focused on Nili Fossae in recent years due to the impressive amount and diversity of minerals found in this area, including silicates, carbonates, and clays (many of which were discovered by Mars Express’s OMEGA instrument). These minerals form in the presence of water, indicating that this region was very wet in ancient martian history. Much of the ground here formed over 3.5 billion years ago, when surface water was abundant across Mars. Scientists believe that water flowed not only across the surface here but also beneath it, forming underground hydrothermal flows that were heated by ancient volcanoes.

Because of what it could tell us about Mars’s ancient and water-rich past, Nili Fossae was considered as a possible landing site for NASA’s Curiosity rover, before the rover was ultimately sent to Gale Crater in 2012. Another mission, NASA’s Perseverance rover, was later sent to land in the nearby Jezero Crater, visible at the end of this video.

Mars Express has visited Nili Fossae before, imaging the region’s graben system back in 2014. The mission has orbited the Red Planet since 2003, imaging Mars’s surface, mapping its minerals, studying its tenuous atmosphere, probing beneath its crust, and exploring how various phenomena interact in the martian environment. For more from the orbiter and its HRSC, see ESA's Mars Express releases.

Disclaimer: This video is not representative of how Mars Express flies over the surface of Mars. See processing notes below.

Processing notes: The video is centred at 23°N, 78°E. It was created using Mars Chart (HMC30) data, an image mosaic made from single-orbit observations from Mars Express’s HRSC. This mosaic was combined with topography derived from a digital terrain model of Mars to generate a three-dimensional landscape. For every second of the movie, 62.5 separate frames are rendered following a pre-defined camera path. The vertical exaggeration is three-fold. Atmospheric effects – clouds and haze – have been added, and start building up at a distance of 50 km.

Click here for the original video created by Freie Universität Berlin, who use Mars Express data to prepare spectacular views of the martian surface. The original version has no voiceover, captions or ESA logo.

05/24/2024 09:00 AM
Five new stunning images from Euclid’s Telescope
Video: 00:06:08

ESA’s Euclid space mission has released five unprecedented new views of the Universe. These never-before-seen images demonstrate Euclid’s remarkable ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos. Scientists are now equipped to hunt for rogue planets, study mysterious matter through lensed galaxies, and explore the evolution of the Universe. Join us as we explore these groundbreaking discoveries and what they mean for the future of space exploration.

05/23/2024 06:45 AM
ESA's Euclid celebrates first science with sparkling cosmic views
Video: 00:07:21

ESA is releasing a new set of full-colour images captured by the space telescope Euclid.

Five new portraits of our cosmos were captured during Euclid’s early observations phase, each revealing amazing new science. Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos is something you will not want to miss. 

05/23/2024 06:00 AM
Euclid celebrates first science with sparkling new images
Video: 00:01:01

Today, ESA’s Euclid space mission releases five unprecedented new views of the Universe. The never-before-seen images demonstrate Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos and enable scientists to hunt for rogue planets, use lensed galaxies to study mysterious matter, and explore the evolution of the Universe.

Read more about Euclid's first images and download the individual images here.

05/15/2024 07:12 AM
The eye of the crater
The eye of the crater Image: The eye of the crater