The Sentinel-2A satellite takes us over the peninsulas and islands of the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar.
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With a length of over 2200 km, the Irrawaddy River is the country's largest, flowing north-to-south before fanning out into the delta and emptying into the Andaman Sea.
Evident by the brown colour of the rivers and streams, sediments carried by the water are deposited in the delta. These deposits make the area very fertile, and the accumulation of deposits over time causes the coastline to advance.
Owing to the rich soils, the region is the country’s largest rice producer. This image was captured in March after the harvesting season but before the planting, so bare ground appears beige.
Green areas show dense mangrove forests, especially the Mein-ma-hla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary in the lower right, known for its saltwater crocodiles. Even though this area is protected, some villagers living on the banks nearby sneak into the sanctuary and chop down trees for wood, degrading the forest.
Wood collection, rice farming and fishing – these and other human activities have damaged the delta’s mangroves over the years. When Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, the remaining mangrove forests were not enough to act as a natural buffer against the storm surge, and resulted in an extensive loss of life.
This image, also featured on the Earth from Space video programme, combines two acquisitions by the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite in March 2017.
ESA’s Proba-V minisatellite reveals the seasonal changes in Africa’s sub-Saharan Sahel, with the rainy season allowing vegetation to blossom between February (top) and September (bottom).
The semi-arid Sahel stretches more than 5000 km across Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean (Senegal, Mauritania) to the Red Sea (Sudan). The few months of the rainy season in the Sahel are much needed in these hot and sunny parts of Africa, and are critical for the food security and livelihood of their inhabitants.
The name Sahel can be translated from Arabic as coast or shore, considered as the ever-shifting landward ‘coastline’ of the arid Sahara Desert.
Smaller than a cubic metre, Proba-V nevertheless images the entire land surface of Earth every two days or less, allowing researchers around the globe to trace gradual shifts in vegetation.
A new set of timelapse videos shows the power of such rapid-repeat views.
Launched on 7 May 2013, Proba-V is a miniaturised ESA satellite tasked with a full-scale mission: to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days.
Its main camera’s continent-spanning 2250 km swath width collects light in the blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared wavebands at 300 m resolution and down to 100 m resolution in its central field of view.
VITO Remote Sensing in Belgium processes and then distributes Proba-V data to users worldwide. An online image gallery highlights some of the mission’s most striking images so far, including views of storms, fires and deforestation.
ESA’s Euclid mission, to be launched in 2020, is set to provide a unique window into the evolution of our 13.8 billion year-old Universe. It will map the history of the Universe’s structure by studying billions of galaxies. In this way, it will be able to probe the nature of invisible dark matter, which makes itself known by the forces it exerts on ordinary matter, and the mysterious dark energy that drives the accelerating expansion of the Universe.
In order to prepare for the huge and complex outpouring of measurements, teams of Euclid scientists have created the largest simulated galaxy catalogue ever produced, the Euclid Flagship mock galaxy catalogue.
It is based on a record-setting supercomputer simulation of two trillion dark matter particles, and contains more than two billion galaxies distributed over the 3D space that Euclid will survey.
The simulation reproduces with exquisite precision the emergence of the large-scale structure of the Universe – galaxies and galaxy clusters within the wispy network of the cosmic web that comprises both dark and ‘normal’ matter.
The simulation also mimics the complex properties that real sources display, such as their shapes, colours and luminosities, as well as the ‘gravitational lensing’ distortions that affect the light emitted by distant galaxies as it travels to us.
An excerpt of the simulation is shown in this image, spanning from today’s local Universe (left) back to when it was about 3 billion years old (right), when clusters of galaxies were beginning to form.
Zooming in provides finer and finer detail. Central galaxies, which populate the centre of dark matter ‘halos’, are coloured green. Satellite galaxies, which reside in the most massive halos in the highest density peaks of the underlying dark matter, are indicated in red.
Armed with this new virtual universe, scientists will be able to best prepare for the mission and also eventually assess its performance. Moreover, it will be an essential tool to develop the data processing and the science analysis software needed for such a data-heavy mission.
The release of the simulated galaxy catalogue was announced by the Euclid Consortium on 7 June.
The simulation was developed on the Piz Daint supercomputer, hosted by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, by a team of scientists at the University of Zurich led by Joachim Stadel. The teams that built the resulting catalogue are based at Institut de Ciències de L’Espai (ICE, IEEC-CSIC) and Port d’Informació Científica (PIC) in Barcelona, in collaboration with the Cosmological Simulations Working Group led by Pablo Fosalba (ICE, IEEC-CSIC) and Romain Teyssier (University of Zurich).
This false-colour view from the international Cassini spacecraft gazes toward the rings beyond Saturn's sunlit horizon. Along the planet’s limb at left a thin, detached haze can be seen.
This view is a false-colour composite made using images taken through red, green and ultraviolet filters. The images were obtained with the narrow-angle camera on 16 July 2017, some 1.25 million km from Saturn. Image scale is about 7 km/pixel on Saturn.
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This beautiful clump of glowing gas, dark dust, and glittering stars is the spiral galaxy NGC 4248, located about 24 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs).
This image was produced by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope as it embarked upon compiling the first Hubble ultraviolet “atlas”, for which the telescope targeted 50 nearby star-forming galaxies. A sample spanning all kinds of different morphologies, masses, and structures. Studying this sample can help us to piece together the star-formation history of the Universe.
By exploring how massive stars form and evolve within such galaxies, astronomers can learn more about how, when, and where star formation occurs, how star clusters change over time, and how the process of forming new stars is related to the properties of both the host galaxy and the surrounding interstellar medium (the “stuff” that fills the space between individual stars).
This image is formed of observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
Prime crew during the pre-launch press conference, on 27 July 2017, at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Prime crewmembers ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and commander Sergey Ryazanskiy are set to launch on 28 July for a four-and-a-half-month mission on the International Space Station. Backup crewmembers are JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft that will carry ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and Roscosmos commander Sergey Ryazansky to the International Space Station is now on the launch pad in Kazakhstan.
The craft was rolled out by train on 26 July 2017 from Baikonur Cosmodrome’s MIK 112 integration facility to pad 1. It now stands upright and is ready for liftoff on 28 July at 15:41 GMT (17:41 CEST).
The Soyuz MS is the latest upgrade to the Russian spacecraft and remains the only means of transporting crew to and from the Space Station.
The spacecraft is launched on a Soyuz FG rocket, a three-stage vehicle that stands 50 m tall and uses kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellants. Within 10 minutes of launch, it will have propelled the crew 200 km above Earth.
An Orthodox Priest blesses members of the media after he blessed the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad, on 27 July 2017, in Kazakhstan.
ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and commander Sergey Ryazanskiy are set to launch on 28 July for a four-and-a-half-month mission on the International Space Station.
Week In Images
24-28 July 2017