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  Saturn’s third moon begins to yield its secrets

Photo of article European and American scientists are working together to uncover the secrets of one of the more mysterious objects in our Solar System. They are currently poring over hundreds of images of Saturn’s third largest moon, Iapetus, sent by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which was developed jointly by the European Space Agency and NASA. Iapetus is best known for its dramatic two-tone colouration: one half is bright, cratered and possibly covered in ice, while the other is ten times darker and covered in a material yet to be identified. ‘The images are really stunning,’ claims Tilmann Denk, Cassini imaging scientist at the Free University in Berlin, Germany. ‘I was most pleased about the images showing huge mountains rising over the horizon.’

NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.

Published: 19 September 2007

  Europe plays a leading role in astronomical discovery

Photo of article Have you ever wondered where galaxies come from? Well, you are not the only one: scientists now believe that one of the fundamental questions of cosmology can be answered within the next ten years, or even sooner. This will require an international effort as some of the observations must be taken from space, beyond the interference of the earth’s atmosphere. Europe will play a key role, with three new instruments, including the EUR 1 billion Herschel Space Observatory (HSO). The European Science Foundation (ESF) has brought together many of the principle users of these facilities at an international conference, including leading specialists in all aspects of galaxy and star formation.

NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.

Published: 23 July 2007

  European research determines Australia’s carbon monoxide worries are South American imports

Photo of article Thanks to a European research project of literally global proportions, scientists have been able to determine that much of the carbon monoxide residing in the atmosphere above Australia is produced by wildfires in South America. Australia’s wildfires are notorious; however, scientists suspected other factors were at play above the biomass-poor regions of central Australia. Biomass incineration, i.e. wildfires, is the largest cause of carbon monoxide in the lower reaches of the atmosphere. Researchers using the Dutch-German satellite instrument SCIAMACHY aboard Europe’s environmental satellite Envisat were able to determine that local fires couldn’t be responsible for the CO levels observed by Dr Annemieke Gloudemans of the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), and her colleagues.

NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.

Published: 22 May 2007

  European satellite imagery sharpens focus of UN biodiversity initiative

Photo of article Just as the extraordinary biodiversity found on the Galapagos Islands helped shape our understanding of natural selection, the unique ecosystems of the area have more recently been helping European researchers map the delicate relationship between ocean temperatures and species survival. The European Space Agency’s Medspiration project is using satellite imagery to provide reliable temperature analysis of biodiversity hotspots around the world in support of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD). The maps are being made available online in near real-time, providing researchers with a unique resource in their efforts to significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010.

NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.

Published: 13 April 2007

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