Space Probes

Images of the huge storm on Saturn taken by the Cassini space probe (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

In late 2010, NASA’s space probe Cassini started observing a huge storm on Saturn lasting for several months. In recent days, an article was published on the journal “Nature Geoscience” that provides an explanation for this phenomenon that had been observed a number of times in the last 140 years but had remained mysterious. According to a team led by Cheng Li of CalTech, Pasadena, the presence of water is the key to its origin.

Four image montage of pictures of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko taken by the space probe Rosetta (Image ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

During the past weekend, ESA’s space probe Rosetta has taken a new flyby about 14 kilometers (about 8.6 miles) away from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This means that it hasnt come as close as in February, however, the comet’s increasing activity caused some problems in Rosetta. Among the consequences, it had serious difficulties in communicating with ESA’s mission control.

The Planck all-sky map at submillimetre wavelengths with the protoclusters indicated as black dots. The inset images showcase some of the observations made by Herschel’s SPIRE instrument (Image ESA and the Planck Collaboration/ H. Dole, D. Guéry & G. Hurier, IAS/University Paris-Sud/CNRS/CNES)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the results of a research carried out by combining the observations made with ESA’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes. The purpose was to find protoclusters, the precursors of today’s galaxy clusters seen in the distant past when the universe was only three billion years. This will help to understand how these huge groups of tens, hundreds and even thousands of galaxies formed and evolved.