This is a colour composite image made from a ground-based eclipse image obtained by the Williams College Eclipse Expedition in Gabon and a wide-field EUV mosaic of the solar corona obtained (more or less) simultaneously in space by SWAP onboard PROBA2.
The image shows the ground-based WL observation in blue and the EUV SWAP image in gold. SWAP observes emission lines from Fe IX/X at about 174 Å, corresponding to plasma at about 0.8 MK, while the eclipse image is insensitive to temperature. As a result, the eclipse contribution to the combined image allows us to see the global coronal structure, while the EUV reveals only those parts of the corona at about a million degrees.
Five moons pose for the international Cassini spacecraft to create this beautiful portrait with Saturn’s rings.
This view, from 29 July 2011, looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
At the far right, and obscuring Saturn itself, is the planet’s second largest moon Rhea, which spans 1528 km. Rhea is closest to Cassini in this composition, at a distance of 1.1 million kilometres. Its heavily cratered surface bears witness to a violent history, with many craters overlapping or erasing the traces of older impact events.
The nearly 400 km-wide Mimas lies just beyond, and seemingly levitates just above Saturn’s innermost rings. The outline of the moon’s large, distinguishing crater Herschel is partially covered by Rhea, but can just be made out along with numerous smaller craters.
Brightly reflective Enceladus appears above the centre of the image and lies beyond the rings, at a distance of 1.8 million kilometres from Cassini. Although not visible in this image, icy Enceladus is covered with a network of frozen ridges and troughs, with plumes of ice particles jetting from fissures in its southern hemisphere.
To the lower left, tiny Pandora, just 81 km across, appears skewered by Saturn’s outer rings – in fact, it orbits between the planet’s A and F rings.
Last but not least, the irregularly shaped Janus lies at the far left of the image, several shadowy surface markings corresponding to large impact craters.
The Cassini–Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington DC, USA.
ESA’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, burnt up on 2 November at 12:04 GMT over an uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean. It left the International Space Station a week earlier with 1.6 tonnes of waste after spending five months attached to the orbital outpost.
Each ATV mission ends with the spacecraft burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere. This time, however, the ATV team organised a special departure to gain valuable data on reentries.
After undocking at 09:00 GMT on 28 October, ATV-4 was instructed by its control centre in Toulouse, France to perform delicate manoeuvres over the course of five days to position itself directly below the Station. Astronauts on the Station observed the vessel from above as it disintegrated.
This image from the Station was taken when ATV-4 was around 100 km directly below and had began its destructive dive. It is the first view of an ATV reentry since the first, ofJules Verne, in 2008.
ATV-4 delivered 7 tonnes of supplies, propellant and experiments to the Space Station. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano oversaw the unloading and cataloguing of the cargo, comprising over 1400 individual items.
The complete set of pictures is available on the ATV blog.
As the earthquake-strength Hydra shaker table simulates the vibration forces of a rocket launch, it is only these concealed springs and dampers that prevent the rest of ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre from also suffering the shakes.
The most powerful and precisely controllable of the shaker tables ESA uses for satellite testing at its Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the multi-axis Hydra is capable of vibrating a complete 22-tonne ATV spacecraft.
Seen from the cleanroom, the hydraulical Hydra appears to be simply 5.5 x 5.5 m aluminium platform lying flush with the floor. But this plate is only the top of an 18-tonne test table sitting on eight hydraulic actuators, in the same manner as a flight simulator.
This test table is enclosed within a 1400-tonne concrete ‘seismic foundation’ block, one side of which is shown here. This block rests in turn on the set of springs and dampers seen at the bottom, which isolate it from the rest of the building.
The green tanks on the side of the seismic foundation contain nitrogen gas, used to compensate for any fluctuations in hydraulic oil pressure during testing.
This week’s image was captured over the Sakha Republic in eastern Russia.
Sakha is covered by permafrost, where the soil is at or below freezing throughout the year. Because of this, roads are made of clay instead of asphalt to avoid cracking with the thawing and freezing. During heavy summer rains, these roads often turn to mud, making road travel difficult.
Along the right side of the image, the Lena River runs its course in multiple channels, in what is called a ‘braided river’. Flowing north, the over 4400 km-long river begins in the Baikal Mountains and empties into the Arctic Laptev Sea.
At the centre of the image is the city of Yakutsk, a major port on the Lena River. As the city and capital of the Sakha Republic, its economy relies heavily on mineral exploitation, including diamond mining.
The large white lines of the Yakutsk Airport runways can be seen north of the city centre, and ports line the riverbanks. Fields and green, forested land extend to the west.
Yakutsk is also known as one of the world’s coldest cities, with average January high temperatures of about –35ºC. In July, average daily temperatures are about 20ºC.
Japan’s ALOS satellite captured this image on 16 June 2010 with its Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer, designed to chart land cover and vegetation in visible and near-infrared spectral bands, at a ground resolution of 10 m.
This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
The third Swarm satellite being carefully manoeuvred onto the launch adapter. Packed like sardines, the next major step will be to encapsulate the constellation within the rocket fairing in preparation for launch on 22 November 2013.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a never-before seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt.
Now designated P/2013 P5, the asteroid was discovered as an unusually fuzzy-looking object by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS survey telescope in Hawaii. The multiple tails were discovered in Hubble images taken on 10 September 2013.
When Hubble returned to the asteroid on 23 September its appearance had totally changed – it looked as if the entire structure had swung around.
One interpretation is that the asteroid’s spin has increased to the point where dust is being flung off the surface and escaping into space, where it is swept out into tails by the pressure of sunlight.
According to this theory, the asteroid’s rotation has been accelerated by the gentle push of sunlight. The tail’s structure suggests the object has been throwing off dust for at least five months.
These visible-light images were taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The asteroid is seen on the left as viewed on 10 September, and on the right as seen on 23 September.
Read the full news release.
Taken at night from the International Space Station, this picture is easily recognisable as Naples, Italy because of the black hole in the bright lights: Mount Vesuvius. Understandably, few people live on the still-active volcano, meaning no street lights or houses illuminate the area.
The centre of Naples is slightly above and to the left – the brightest part of the image. To the left is the Mediterranean Sea with the islands of Ischia, Procida and Capri lit up, revealing human presence.
The image was taken on a clear night from 400 km above but it was not cloud-free around Naples. The top half of the image shows grey clouds.
This image was taken with the Nightpod camera-stand that tracks the movement of Earth passing under the International Space Station at 28 800 km/h, keeping any target fixed in the middle of the viewfinder. Standard cameras fixed to Nightpod can take pictures with longer exposure times so astronauts can capture sharper pictures of cities at night.
Left to right: ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, both flight engineers, along with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, Expedition 37 commander; pose for a portrait in the Unity node of the International Space Station.
Week in Images
04-08 November 2013