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N 59 B 1.5K C 2 E Nov 22, 2021 F Nov 26, 2021
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This star- and galaxy-studded image was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), using data that were collected for scientific purposes. The object of interest was a galaxy that is visible in the bottom right corner of the image, named SGAS 0033+02. What makes this particular galaxy interesting is a little unusual — it appears not just once in this image, but three times. The thrice-visible galaxy is a little difficult to spot: it appears once as a curved arc and twice more as small round dots around the star.

SGAS 0033+02’s multiple appearances in the same image are not the result of an error, but instead are due to a remarkable phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing occurs when the light from a very distant galaxy — such as SGAS 0033+02 — is curved (or ‘lensed’) by the gravity of a massive celestial object that lies in the foreground, between the distant galaxy and the Earth. SGAS 0033+02 was discovered by its namesake, the Sloan Giant Arcs Survey (SGAS), which aimed to identify highly magnified galaxies that were gravitationally lensed by foreground galaxy clusters. SGAS 0033+02 is of special interest because of its highly unusual proximity in the sky to a very bright star. The star is useful, because it can be used to calibrate and correct observations of the lensed SGAS 0033+02.

Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, E. Wuyts; CC BY 4.0

Tags:   ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology Gravitational Lensing Gravity Lense Lensing SGAS 0033+02 SGAS 0033+02

N 42 B 1.5K C 0 E Sep 23, 2021 F Nov 26, 2021
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Kainji Lake, a reservoir on the Niger River in western Nigeria, is featured in this true-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Kainji Lake was created in 1968 by the construction of the Kainji Dam and covers an area of around 1300 sq km with a mean depth of 12 m. Water from the Niger River, the third-longest river in Africa, enters the lake in the north. The grey-coloured waters here mix with the striking, yellow-coloured waters of Kainji Lake, creating a distinct sediment plume moving southwards. The emerald-green streaks are vegetation and algae floating on the surface of the lake.

The creation of the lake submerged Foge Island, the town of Bussa and permanently flooded other riverine settlements – leaving around 50 000 people displaced. Foge Island can be seen dividing the river into two channels at the northern end, and the channels merge again north of Old Bussa. During low water tides, large parts of Foge Island rise above and are temporarily inhabited by migrating fishermen.

Kainji Dam, located in the centre of the image, produces electricity for most of Nigeria’s cities. The dam is the largest of the dams on the Niger, over 66 m high and 550 m across. The dam provides electrical power, improved river navigation, water control of the Niger, as well as waters for irrigation and fishing.

Kainji Lake National Park, visible as a dark green patch of land in the left of the image, is Nigeria’s oldest national park. Covering an area of around 5300 sq km, the park contains three distinct areas: a part of the Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve to the west of the lake, and the Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast. Around 65 mammal species, 350 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded in the park.

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The mission’s frequent revisits over the same area and high spatial resolution allow changes in water bodies to be closely monitored.

This image, captured on 11 November 2020, is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), 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 Niger River Africa Kainji Lake Nigeria Kainji Dam Dam lake river Sentinel-2 Foge Island Bussa Kainji Lake National Park

N 74 B 2.1K C 0 E Jul 26, 2021 F Nov 25, 2021
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Applications are now open for the role of ESA-sponsored research medical doctor at Concordia research station in Antarctica for the 2023 winter over season. Do you have a medical degree, an interest in space exploration and the fortitude to spend almost a year in isolation in the world’s largest desert? Apply today for this unique post.

The blank backdrop

Located at the mountain plateau called Dome C in Antarctica, the French-Italian base is one of only three that is inhabited all year long.

Between the extreme altitude – 3233 m above sea level means the crew experience chronic hypobaric hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain – four months of total darkness during the winter, and temperatures as low as –80°C, the base is fertile ground to research the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments on the human body and mind.

For this reason, each year ESA sponsors a medical doctor to oversee biomedical experiments at the base.

The 2021 winter over doctor, Nick Smith from the UK, is on his way back home after a successful year in Antarctica. Taking his place is Hannes Hagson from Sweden. He arrived with his crew of 12 in early November and will oversee research such as how isolation changes people’s brains, sleep and their immune system.

Summer in December

Concordia is currently hosting the summer season of researchers. About 60 researchers flock to the station to check equipment, set up sensors and run experiments for a few weeks. The last of the summer crew is expected to leave in February, and then the isolation begins. The 13-member crew will spend the next nine months with only each other for company as the sun begins to set, returning after four months.

If you think you have what it takes, apply for the position of ESA research doctor by 21 January 2022.

Good luck to Hannes and the DC 18 crew! Follow Hannes’ year on the Chronicles from Concordia blog.

Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-N.Smith

Tags:   Human Space Flight Image of the Week ESA European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space Technology Tech Technology Antarctica Concordia Dome C

N 56 B 2.1K C 0 E Nov 25, 2021 F Nov 25, 2021
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Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is surrounded by about fifty dwarf galaxies. Most of these galaxies are only identifiable through telescopes and have been named after the constellation in which they appear on the sky (for example, Draco, Sculptor or Leo). However, the two most obvious dwarf galaxies are called the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and these are easily visible to the unaided eye. Traditionally these dwarf galaxies have been thought of as satellites in orbit around the Milky Way for many billions of years. Now, however, new data from ESA’s Gaia spacecraft have shown that the majority of the dwarf galaxies are passing the Milky Way for the first time. This forces astronomers to reconsider the history of the Milky Way and how it formed, along with the nature and composition of the dwarf galaxies themselves.

More information.

Credits: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Tags:   Astronomy Milky Way Stars Gaia Mission European Space Agency Space Universe Cosmos Space Science Science Space technology tech Technology News Interview Gaia DR3 UMi Draco SMC Small Magellanic Cloud LMC Large Magellanic Cloud Sculptor Carina Fornax Sextans Leo I Leo II

N 41 B 3.7K C 0 E Nov 23, 2021 F Nov 24, 2021
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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft onboard, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, Pacific time (Nov. 24 Eastern time) from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. DART is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. The mission was built and is managed by Johns Hopkins APL for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Tags:   Rocket California Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) Launch NASA Falcon 9 Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4) Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Space Launch Delta 30 SpaceX Vandenberg Space Force Base USA Bill Ingalls


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