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European Space Agency / 9,722 items

N 101 B 1.8K C 2 E Jan 25, 2022 F Jan 25, 2022
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Image of a sunset or sunrise seen from the International Space Station. ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer captured and posted this image to his social channels on 23 January 2022 with the caption:

He posted this to his social channels on 20 January 2022 with the caption: "The beauty of a sunset / sunrise. This thin layer of atmosphere is what makes our planet unique and provides the basis for all life. From space it seems more fragile, prone, unguarded and vulnerable than the scent of perfume."

Visit the Cosmic Kiss mission page to learn more about Matthias’s mission.

Credits: ESA/NASA; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tags:   ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology Cosmic Kiss Matthias Maurer Crew 3 Human Spaceflight Astronaut Astronauts ISS International Space Station Space Crew Dragon Earth Atmosphere

N 105 B 3.1K C 1 E Jan 19, 2022 F Jan 21, 2022
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The first-of-its-kind complement of instruments dubbed the ‘space storm hunter’ hangs out in its new location outside the International Space Station in this image taken by on of the Station’s external cameras.

The Atmosphere–Space Interactions Monitor, or ASIM for short, measures electric events in Earth’s upper atmosphere with cameras, photometers and X- and gamma-ray detectors.

Last week ASIM was switched off and moved by robotic arm to another spot outside the Columbus module to make room for an American payload. Now in its new location, the instrument is being activated and so far things are going well.

From its new vantage point, just next to its current one, ASIM is pointing in a different direction, slightly more towards the horizon instead of straight down. This will help researchers work out how much the atmosphere at different altitudes influences the processes of electrical discharges. It’s like viewing a firework display: one can enjoy the shapes more from the side than if one is just below the display!

Though designed to look for electrical discharges born in stormy weather conditions in Earth’s upper atmosphere, ASIM recently detected a unique gamma-ray burst from outer space.

The spurt turned out to be from an explosive giant flare from a magnetar located 10 million light-years away in a distant galaxy. Magnetars are a special type of neutron star – the collapsed core of what was once a supergiant star. This fortuitous observation was published in the December issue of Nature magazine.

ASIM was built by Danish company Terma, the Danish Technical University, the University of Bergen in Norway and the University of Valencia in Spain for the European Space Agency.

Credits: ESA/NASA

Tags:   ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology ASIM Human Spaceflight ISS International Space Station Engineering Atmosphere–Space Interactions Monitor Human Space Flight Image of the Week

N 109 B 3.2K C 0 E Jan 19, 2022 F Jan 21, 2022
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Black holes are often described as the monsters of the universe—tearing apart stars, consuming anything that comes too close, and holding light captive. Detailed evidence from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, however, shows a black hole in a new light: fostering, rather than suppressing, star formation. Hubble imaging and spectroscopy of the dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10 clearly show a gas outflow stretching from the black hole to a bright star birth region like an umbilical cord, triggering the already dense cloud into forming clusters of stars. Astronomers have previously debated that a dwarf galaxy could have a black hole analogous to the supermassive black holes in larger galaxies. Further study of dwarf galaxies, which have remained small over cosmic time, may shed light on the question of how the first seeds of supermassive black holes formed and evolved over the history of the universe.

This dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10 sparkles with young stars in this Hubble visible-light image. The bright region at the center, surrounded by pink clouds and dark dust lanes, indicates the location of the galaxy's massive black hole and active stellar nurseries.

Credits: NASA, ESA, Z. Schutte (XGI), A. Reines (XGI), A. Pagan (STScI); CC BY 4.0

Tags:   Hen 2-10 ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology HST Hubble Space Telescope Galaxy Supernova NASA Creative Commons Black Hole Dwarf Galaxy Stars Star

N 111 B 3.0K C 1 E Jan 17, 2022 F Jan 21, 2022
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The spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 3318 are lazily draped across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This spiral galaxy lies in the constellation Vela and is roughly 115 light-years away from Earth. Vela was originally part of a far larger constellation, known as Argo Navis after the fabled ship Argo from Greek mythology, but this unwieldy constellation proved to be impractically large. Argo Navis was split into three separate parts called Carnina, Puppis, and Vela — each named after part of the Argo. As befits a galaxy in a nautically inspired constellation, the outer edges of NGC 3318 almost resemble a ship’s sails billowing in a gentle breeze.

Despite its placid appearance, NGC 3318 has played host to a spectacularly violent astronomical phenomenon, a titanic supernova first detected by an amateur astronomer in 2000. Thanks to NGC 3318’s distance from Earth, the original supernova must have taken place in or around 1885. Coincidentally, this was the year in which the only supernova ever to be detected in our neighbouring galaxy Andromeda was witnessed by 19th-century astronomers.

Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO, R. J. Foley; CC BY 4.0
Acknowledgement: R. Colombari

Tags:   NGC 3318 ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology HST Hubble Space Telescope Galaxy Supernova NASA Creative Commons Stars Spiral Galaxy Galaxies

N 66 B 2.9K C 0 E Aug 17, 2021 F Jan 21, 2022
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Part of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, also known as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a state in northeast Germany is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. A portion of the northwest coast of Poland can be seen in the right of the image.

Mecklenburg–West Pomerania extends along the Baltic Sea coastal plain with the region’s landscape largely shaped by glacial forces – which deposited materials that produced the coastal lowlands that are today filled with wetlands, streams and lakes.

Mecklenburg–West Pomerania is one of Germany’s least populated states. Nearly two-thirds is covered by farmland with the main crops being rye, wheat, barley and hay. The green areas present in this image are most likely winter wheat and winter rapeseed. The region’s pastures typically support sheep, horses and cattle.

On the state’s coastline on the Baltic Sea lie many holiday resorts, unspoilt nature and the islands of Rügen (partly visible in the top left) and Usedom (in the centre of the image), as well as many others. The most populous island in the Baltic Sea, the 445 sq km island of Usedom is mostly flat and is partly covered by marshes.

The icy Szczecin Lagoon, or Szczeciński Lagoon, dominates this week’s image, which was captured on 22 February 2021. An extension of the Oder estuary, the lagoon is shared between Germany and Poland, and is drained (via the Świna, Peene, and Dziwna rivers) into Pomeranian Bay of the Baltic Sea, between Usedom and Wolin.

From the south, it is fed by several arms of the Oder River, Poland’s second-longest river, and several smaller rivers. The distinct line across the lagoon depicts the shipping waterway that connects the port cities of Świnoujście and Szczecin.

Several emerald-green algae blooms can be seen in the image, with the most visible near Peenestrom, an arm of the Baltic Sea, in the left of the image. Peenestrom separates the island of Usedom from the mainland and is an important habitat for waterfowl, especially because of its fish population, such as white-tailed eagles and herons.

The Baltic Sea is no stranger to algae blooms, with two annual blooms taking place each year (the spring bloom and the cyanobacterial bloom in late spring.) Given this image was captured in February, it is most likely an onset of a spring bloom.

Although algal blooms are a natural and essential part of life in the sea, human activity is also said to increase the number of annual blooms. Agricultural and industrial run-off pours fertilisers into the sea, providing additional nutrients algae need to form large blooms.

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The satellites are able to systematically map different classes of land cover such as forest, crops, grassland, water surfaces and artificial cover like roads and buildings. This kind of information can benefit a multitude of applications.

This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

Credits: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Tags:   ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology Space Tech Earth from Space Observing the Earth Earth Observation Earth Explorer Satellite image Copernicus Sentinel Baltic Sea Mecklenburg–West Pomerania Germany Poland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Rügen Usedom Szczecin Lagoon Oder estuary Pomeranian Bay Wolin Oder Świnoujście Szczecin Peenestrom algae blooms Sebtubek


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