heic0409 — Science Release
28 May 2004: A European team has used the Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (AVO) to find 30 supermassive black holes that had previously escaped detection behind masking dust clouds. The identification of this large population of long-sought 'hidden' black holes is the first scientific discovery to emerge from a Virtual Observatory. The result suggests that astronomers may have underestimated the number of powerful supermassive black holes by as much as a factor of five.
heic0408 — Photo Release
heic0407 — Photo Release
heic0406 — Science Release
9 March 2004: Astronomers today unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible Universe ever achieved by humankind. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages", the time shortly after the big bang when the first stars reheated the cold, dark Universe. The new image should offer new insights into what types of objects reheated the Universe long ago.
heic0405 — Photo Release
4 March 2004: Starry Night", Vincent van Gogh's famous painting, is renowned for its bold whorls of light sweeping across a raging night sky. Although this image of the heavens came only from the artist's restless imagination, a new picture from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope bears remarkable similarities to the van Gogh work, complete with never-before-seen spirals of dust swirling across trillions of kilometres of interstellar space.
heic0404 — Science Release
15 February 2004: An international team of astronomers may have set a new record in discovering what is the most distant known galaxy in the Universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the Universe was barely 5 percent of its current age.
heic0402 — Photo Release
3 February 2004: The nearby dwarf galaxy NGC 1569 is a hotbed of vigorous star birth activity which blows huge bubbles and super-bubbles that riddle the main body of the galaxy. The galaxy's vigorous 'star factories' are also manufacturing brilliant blue star clusters. This galaxy had a sudden and relatively recent onset of star birth 25 million years ago, which subsided about the time the very earliest human ancestors appeared on Earth.
heic0403 — Science Release
2 February 2004: The well-known extrasolar planet HD 209458b, provisionally nicknamed Osiris, has surprised astronomers again. Oxygen and carbon have been found in its atmosphere, evaporating at such an immense rate that the existence of a new class of extrasolar planets - 'the chthonian planets' or 'dead' cores of completely evaporated gas giants - has been proposed.
heic0401 — Science Release
7 January 2004: A joint European/University of Hawaii team of astronomers has for the first time observed a stellar 'survivor' to emerge from a double star system involving an exploded supernova. Supernovae are some of the most significant sources of chemical elements in the Universe, and they are at the heart of our understanding of the evolution of galaxies.
heic0313 — Science Release
31 December 2003: Studies of two distant galaxy clusters using a combination of the largest radio, optical and x-ray telescopes on the ground and in space have independently found that galaxies formed relatively early in the history of the Universe. The two galaxy clusters studied are respectively the most distant proto-cluster ever found and the most massive known galaxy cluster for its epoch.
heic0312 — Science Release
heic0311 — Photo Release
24 September 2003: A team of European astronomers is using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to look back in time. They have imaged the spiral galaxy NGC 3982 and hundreds of other galaxies in the hope that one of the millions of stars in these images will some day explode as a supernova. They can then look back and pinpoint the exact star that has exploded. Only two such supernova 'mother stars' have ever been identified.
heic0310 — Science Release
5 September 2003: Results from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope played a major role in preparing ESA's ambitious Rosetta mission for its new target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Hubble has been the critical tool in measuring precisely the size, shape and rotational period of the comet. Information that is essential if Rosetta is to rendezvous with a comet and then drop down a probe, something never before attempted and yet a major step to elucidating solar system origins.
heic0309 — Science Release
17 July 2003: Using the powerful trick of gravitational lensing, a European and American team of astronomers have constructed an extensive 'mass map' of one of the most massive structures in our Universe. They believe that it will lead to a better understanding of how such systems assembled and the key role of dark matter.
heic0308 — Photo Release
heic0307 — Photo Release
heic0306 — Science Release
30 April 2003: Recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the first stars formed as little as 200 million years after the Big Bang. This is much earlier than previously thought. Astronomers have observed large amounts of iron in the ultraluminous light from very distant, ancient quasars. This iron is the 'ashes' left from supernova explosions in the very first generation of stars.
heic0305 — Photo Release
heic0304 — Science Release
26 March 2003: In January 2002, a moderately dim star in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, suddenly became 600 000 times more luminous than our Sun. This made it temporarily the brightest star in our Milky Way. The light from this eruption created a unique phenomenon known as a 'light echo' when it reflected off dust shells around the star.
heic0303 — Science Release
12 March 2003: Using the Hubble Space Telescope, for the first time, astronomers have observed the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet evaporating off into space. Much of this planet may eventually disappear, leaving only a dense core. The planet is a type of extrasolar planet known as a 'hot Jupiter'. These giant, gaseous planets orbit their stars very closely, drawn to them like moths to a flame.
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