Herschel telescope detects water on dwarf planet

Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Plumes of water vapor are thought to shoot up periodically from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly. Ceres is classified as a dwarf planet, a solar system body bigger than an asteroid and smaller than a planet.

Herschel helps find elusive signals from the early Universe

Using a telescope in Antarctica and ESA’s Herschel space observatory, astronomers have made the first detection of a subtle twist in the relic radiation from the Big Bang, paving the way towards revealing the first moments of the Universe’s existence.

Hot molecular gas drawn to supermassive black hole at Milky Way center

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot molecular gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Herschel spacecraft going dark as liquid helium coolant supply exhausted

The European Space Agency's Herschel (ESA) space observatory has exhausted its supply of liquid helium coolant, ending more than three years of pioneering observations of the cool Universe.

Planets and debris litter this "retired" star

ESA’s Herschel space observatory has provided the first images of a dust belt – produced by colliding comets or asteroids – orbiting a subgiant star known to host a planetary system.

Herschel space observatory spots some of the youngest stars ever seen

Astronomers have identified some of the youngest stars ever seen, thanks to the European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel space observatory.

Red supergiant star braces for dusty wall collision

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel space observatory has identified multiple arcs around Betelgeuse, the nearest red supergiant star to Earth.

Vega encircled by asteroid belt

Astronomers believe they've found a large asteroid belt around Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies.

Vast comet belts found around nearby stars

Astronomers using ESA's Herschel space observatory have discovered enormous comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds.

Star-filled galactic 'bridge' discovered

ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has discovered a giant, galaxy-filled filament connecting two clusters of galaxies.

The biggest black holes prevent star creation

Scientists using the Herschel Space Observatory have discovered that galaxies with the most powerful, active black holes at their heart produce fewer stars.

Trillions of comets collide around Fomalhaut

A ring of dust around the nearby star Fomalhaut is created by the collision of thousands of comets every day.

Inside the dark heart of a cosmic collision

Astronomers have combined infrared and X-ray observations from two space telescopes - Herschel and XMM Newton - to create a unique look at violent events within the giant galaxy Centaurus A.

First oxygen molecules found in space

Oxygen molecules have been detected for the first ever time in space, helping explain where some of the universe's missing oxygen may be hiding.

Huge storms sweep entire galaxies clean

Scientists examining data from the Herschel space observatory say they've detected gigantic storms of molecular gas in the centre of many galaxies.

Herschel captures the birth of a giant star

ESA's Herschel telescope has snapped an embryonic star likely to turn into one of the biggest and brightest in our galaxy within the next few hundred thousand years.