Several large, active regions on the Sun burst out with about 20 eruptions between 25 and 28 October 2013. Some were flares; some were coronal mass ejections, and at least one was a prominence eruption.
This is an image of the Sun in extreme UV light from the Solar Dynamic Observatory superimposed on a visible-light image of the solar corona obtained with SOHO's C2 coronagraph. The still was taken on 26 October.
The Sun is about at its maximum level of activity in its 11-year solar cycle, so stormy stretches like this one are to be expected.
From left: astronauts Sergey Ryazansky, Oleg Kotov, Luca Parmitano, Karen Nyberg, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mike Hopkins pay tribute to Albert Einstein from the International Space Station shortly after ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Albert Einstein undocked.
The Expedition 37 crew are imitating the photo taken on Einstein’s 72nd birthday in 1951, by United Press International photographer Arthur Sasse.
ATV Albert Einstein left the Station at 08:55 GMT on 28 October and will reenter the atmosphere on 2 November. Albert Einstein will be instructed by ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France to perform delicate manoeuvres over the course of five days to position itself directly below the Station.
Controllers will start the reentry procedure around noon GMT 2 November when it is 120 km below the Station – so astronauts will observe the craft from above as it disintegrates over the Pacific Ocean. This procedure will provide valuable information to calibrate future spacecraft reentries.
From the highest volcano to the deepest canyon, from impact craters to ancient river beds and lava flows, this showcase of images from ESA’s Mars Express takes you on an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.
Mars Express was launched on 2 June 2003 and arrived at Mars six-and-a-half months later. It has since orbited the planet nearly 12 500 times, providing scientists with unprecedented images and data collected by its suite of scientific instruments.
The data have been used to create an almost global digital topographic model of the surface, providing a unique visualisation and enabling researchers to acquire new and surprising information about the evolution of the Red Planet.
The images in this movie were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera and the video was released by the DLR German Aerospace Center as part of the ten years of Mars Express celebrations in June 2013. The music has been created by Stephan Elgner of DLR’s Mars Express planetary cartography team. DLR developed and is operating the stereo camera.
Read the original post on DLR’s website here.
ATV Albert Einstein backs away from the International Space Station shortly after undocking at 09:55 CET (08:55 UT) on 28 October 2013. Albert Einstein is the fourth in the series of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles that delivers supplies to the Station, reboosts its orbit and frees up space on the orbital outpost when it undocks with waste. The spacecraft is scheduled to be sent into Earth’s atmosphere for a planned destructive re-entry over an uninhabited area of the south Pacific Ocean on 2 November.
More in the ATV blog: blogs.esa.int/atv
All three Swarm satellites in vertical positions, ready to join the launch adapter. The constellation is being prepared for launch in Plesetsk, Russia.
This spherical container has been engineered to house the most scientifically valuable cargo imaginable – samples brought back from the Red Planet. Weighing less than 5 kg, this 23 cm-diameter sphere has been designed to keep martian samples in pristine condition at a temperature of under -10°C throughout their long journey back to Earth. The container seen here hosts 11 sealable receptacles, including one set aside for a sample of martian air. First the sample container must be landed on Mars, along with a rover to retrieve a cache of samples carefully selected by a previous mission, according to the current mission scenario. Then, once filled, it will be launched back up to Mars orbit. There it will remain for several days until a rendezvous spacecraft performs its capture in an autonomous way. To ease the process of rendezvous, the sample container is equipped with a radio emitter and retro-reflectors for close-up laser ranging. Before being returned to Earth, the container will be enclosed in another larger bio-sealed container ensuring a perfect containment of any returned martian material. This container will then be returned to Earth for a high velocity re-entry.
Shining brightly in this Hubble image is our closest stellar neighbour: Proxima Centauri.
Proxima Centauri lies in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), just over four light-years from Earth. Although it looks bright through the eye of Hubble, as you might expect from the nearest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri is not visible to the naked eye. Its average luminosity is very low, and it is quite small compared to other stars, at only about an eighth of the mass of the Sun.
However, on occasion, its brightness increases. Proxima is what is known as a “flare star”, meaning that convection processes within the star’s body make it prone to random and dramatic changes in brightness. The convection processes not only trigger brilliant bursts of starlight but, combined with other factors, mean that Proxima Centauri is in for a very long life. Astronomers predict that this star will remain middle-aged — or a “main sequence” star in astronomical terms — for another four trillion years, some 300 times the age of the current Universe.
These observations were taken using Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Proxima Centauri is actually part of a triple star system — its two companions, Alpha Centauri A and B, lie out of frame.
Although by cosmic standards it is a close neighbour, Proxima Centauri remains a point-like object even using Hubble’s eagle-eyed vision, hinting at the vast scale of the Universe around us.
Week in Images
28 October-2 November 2013