This new Hubble image shows a cosmic creepy-crawly known as the Tarantula Nebula in infrared light. This region is full of star clusters, glowing gas, and thick dark dust.
Created using observations taken as part of the Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project (HTTP), this image was snapped using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project (HTTP) is scanning and imaging many of the many millions of stars within the Tarantula, mapping out the locations and properties of the nebula's stellar inhabitants. These observations will help astronomers to piece together an understanding of the nebula's skeleton, viewing its starry structure.
Three thousand light years from Earth, the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is a sight that draws in the human eye. In this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, numerous bubbles are visible – shapes generated by the ejection of glowing gas as the star at its centre approaches the end of its life.
While large stars die in supernova explosions, average Sun-like stars form planetary nebulas as they exhaust their fuel supplies and slowly expire. The name ‘planetary nebula’ arose because the round shape, sculpted as layers of material are ejected, looked a little like a planet in small telescopes.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula was discovered by William Herschel in 1786, and remains an interesting target for ground-based astronomers. Amateurs can see the magnitude 8.1 blob in the sky well enough to resolve the Cat’s Eye shape, while large telescopes have identified a wider halo extending into space.
This image was published on the ESA Portal in 2004, but the Hubble Space Telescope first revealed the nebula’s intricate structure in 1994.
Observations of its intricate concentric gas shells and unusual shock-induced knots of gas suggest that the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1500 year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells that each contain as much mass as all of the planets in our Solar System combined.
Valencia, Spain, seen from over 300 km above Earth by an astronaut on the International Space Station on 6 October 2013. This incredibly sharp image shows the grid-like streets of Valencia surrounding the older, less-structured, centre. The ‘claw’ extending to the top is the port of Valencia that serves as a breakwater as well as a platform to offload ships.
Lights of a ship that is either leaving or arriving at the port can be seen. The blackness to the top left of this image is the Mediterranean Sea where no streetlights exist. Other areas of blackness are parks and countryside, places where humans have not settled and installed artificial lights.
The bright blue lights to the bottom of the image are from Valencia’s airport and industrial sites.
A gowned technician passes through an air shower to blast off dust and dirt particles before entering the strictly controlled clean room attached to ESTEC’s Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory.
This 35 sq. m ‘ISO Class 1’ clean room provides an ultra-clean environment, suitable for working on flight hardware requiring a very high level of cleanliness and sterilisation, such as instruments for Europe’s 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions.
The clean room is fitted with a dry heat steriliser, ultra-clean gas lines, exhaust line and IT infrastructure, with all its air passing through a two-stage filtering system.
The chamber’s cleanliness is such that it contains less than 10 smoke-sized particles per cubic metre; an equivalent sample of the outside air could well contain millions.
The coast of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa is pictured in this image from the Landsat-8 satellite. Mangrove swamps are abundant along this coastline, acting as important feeding grounds for fish, birds and animals.
Flowing from the east, the Geba River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, with the country’s capital city of Bissau located on the river estuary. The city appears as a light brown area in the upper-central portion of the image.
Off the coast in the lower-left section of the image are the Bissagos (or Bijagós) islands – an archipelago of over 80 islands and islets. In 1996 the archipelago was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
A diversity of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish can be found on the islands, including protected or rare species such as the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, African manatee and the common bottlenose dolphin.
The archipelago has also been recognised as an important site for green sea turtles to lay their eggs.
In the lower left corner, the island of Orango looks like a tree, with the waterways like branches and land appears as foliage. This island is the centre of a national park, and is known for its matrimonial tradition where marriage is formally proposed by the women – who are also responsible for building the homes.
This image was acquired by Landsat-8 satellite’s Operational Land Imager on 3 May 2013 and it is featured in the Earth from Space video programme .
Taken on 2014-01-07 01:04:59 UTC
Distance to Venus = about 50000 km
Spacecraft is high above South pole.
South pole is at right of image.
Venus is just over 12,000 km in diameter – only 5% smaller than the diameter of the Earth.
The striations in the cloud show that the winds are blowing around the pole. The planet and its winds rotate from East to the West, note that this is “backwards” compared to the rotation of the Earth and every other planet.
Note that the blotches on the image are camera artifacts: these are due to sensitivity variations in the camera, which are corrected for in a calibration procedure (that hasn’t been done yet for these images, since they were only obtained today).
Week in Images
06-10 January 2014