Guanabara Bay in southeast Brazil is pictured in this image from the Sentinel-1A satellite.
The city of Rio de Janeiro lies on the western banks of the bay and along the Atlantic coast to the south. Rio is connected to the city of Niterói on the east side of the bay by a large bridge which appears as a dotted straight line. To the north, we can see radar reflections from large ships.
Governador is the largest island in Guanabara Bay, and the site of Rio de Janeiro’s main airport. The runways appear as dark lines.
Part of Rio de Janeiro was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 under the category of ‘cultural landscapes’. The Tijuca National Park – the mountainous area in the lower-left – is a hand-planted rainforest covering more than 30 sq km. The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer stands at the eastern end of the forest, overlooking the city from the peak of the 700 m-high Corcovado mountain.
Zooming in above the mountains, the two circular structures are large stadiums. The one to the right is Estádio do Maracanã, where the final match of this year’s World Cup will take place on Sunday.
At the bottom-centre part of the image, the curved coast of the famous Copacabana is visible, while Sugarloaf mountain sits at the mouth of the bay.
This image, also featured on the Earth from Space video programme, was acquired on 13 May by Sentinel-1A’s radar working in 'dual polarisation'. The radar gathers information in either horizontal or vertical radar pulses, and colours were assigned to the different types.
This ethereal image shows a stunning sliver of large main-belt asteroid Lutetia from the viewpoint of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, taken as Rosetta passed by on its 10-year voyage towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
This week marks four years since Rosetta flew by this ancient rocky body, on 10 July 2010. As the spacecraft swung past Lutetia it snapped hundreds of high-resolution photographs with its Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) as well as obtaining valuable spectra, and maps of the surface temperature using other instruments.
This image was taken as Rosetta had passed its closest approach, at just under 3170 km from Lutetia’s surface, and was beginning its journey away from the asteroid.
As a result of this flyby, astronomers have been able to characterise Lutetia, viewing the wide range of craters and geological features scarring the asteroid’s surface and gauging its mass and volume–and thus density and composition. These measurements showed that Lutetia is primordial, likely having formed just under 4 billion years ago during the very early phases of the Solar System.
This asteroid is one of just two that Rosetta has closely flown past, the other being asteroid Steins in 2008.
Rosetta was launched in 2004 and, after 10 years in space, will finally rendezvous with its target comet in August. It will study the comet’s surface, dust and gases in unprecedented detail, deploy a lander onto its surface, and follow the comet for over a year as it orbits around the Sun.
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is sharing his incredible views from 400 km above on the International Space Station. In the last week the six astronauts witnessed Hurricane Arthur terrorise the US east coast, beautiful auroras and super typhoon Neoguri as it approached Japan.
At its height, Neoguri produced wind speeds of 240 km/h and its eye, the centre of the typhoon, was 65 km wide. Thousands of people in Okinawa, Japan, and elsewhere were evacuated. The worst seems to be over, with Neoguri having been demoted back to a ‘normal’ typhoon.
See more pictures of Earth through the eyes of Alexander Gerst on his Flickr page.
ESA's Rosetta comet-chasing satellite during acoustic testing, simulating the deafening noise of a rocket launch, in the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) of the ESTEC Test Centre in April 2002. Note the microphone stands surrounding the satellite, to capture the noise field produced by the acoustic horns, one of which is seen embedded in the wall to the left. Nitrogen shot through the horns can produce a range of noise up to more than 154 decibels, like standing close to multiple jets taking off.
Before leaving Earth a decade ago, ESA’s comet-chasing mission Rosetta underwent a full test campaign at ESA’s Technical Centre in the Netherlands, the largest spacecraft testing facility in Europe. For more information on the full range of testing carried out, read the ESA Bulletin article from the time.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken by the narrow angle camera of Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, OSIRIS, on 4 July 2014, at a distance of 37 000 km. The three images are separated by 4 hours, and are shown in order from left to right. The comet has a rotation period of about 12.4 hours. It covers an area of about 30 pixels, and although individual features are not yet resolved, the image is beginning to reveal the comet’s irregular shape.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The Cassini spacecraft captures three magnificent sights at once: Saturn's north polar vortex and hexagon along with its expansive rings.
The hexagon, which is wider than two Earths, owes its appearance to the jet stream that forms its perimeter. The jet stream forms a six-lobed, stationary wave which wraps around the north polar regions at a latitude of roughly 77 degrees North.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 37 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on 2 April 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 43 degrees. Image scale is 131 kilometers per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL.
The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
This view shows a portion of the western rim of the vast Hellas basin in the southern hemisphere of Mars. The crater shown in the upper left is on the periphery of the Hellas basin. The edge of the Hellas basin is traced by a string of rocky peaks known as the Hellespontus Montes, which runs roughly half way through the image from the edge of the large crater towards the right hand side of the scene. Many other interesting features can be seen: intricate valleys, dune fields and unusual deposits of dust-covered ice inside smaller craters.
The image was taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 13 January 2014 (orbit 12 750). The centre of the image is located at approximately 41°S/45°E, in the southern highlands of Mars. The image resolution is roughly 17 m per pixel. North is to the right, east is up.
This view, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a nearby spiral galaxy known as NGC 1433. At about 32 million light-years from Earth, it is a type of very active galaxy known as a Seyfert galaxy — a classification that accounts for 10% of all galaxies. They have very bright, luminous centres comparable to that of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Liftoff of Soyuz flight VS08 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 10 July 2014. The eighth Soyuz to launch from Kourou carried four connectivity satellites into an equatorial orbit.
The two galaxies have been found to be merging into one and a "chain" of young stellar superclusters are seen winding around the galaxies' nuclei. The galaxies are surrounded by an egg-shaped blue ring caused by the immense gravity of the cluster bending light from other galaxies beyond it.
Week In Images
07-11 July 2014