A comet, streaking into the image from the bottom right, appears to be headed for an encounter with a coronal mass ejection (CME) launched from the Sun. In fact, the comet is in the foreground with the CME occurring on the farside of the Sun. The comet, probably just a few tens of metres wide, was vaporised on its approach to the Sun, and did not survive the flyby.
The image was captured by the ESA/NASA SOHO space telescope on 19 August, 2013. The white circle shows the size and position of the visible Sun. The shaded disc is a mask in SOHO’s LASCO instrument that blots out direct sunlight to allow study of the faint details in the Sun's corona.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano captured summer storms and sea currents in Calabria, Italy on 19 August, from the International Space Station.
A view of the remote Antarctic base Concordia as the Sun returns after over 3 months of darkness.
The base is 3200 m above sea level and temperatures drop to –80°C. No supplies can be delivered during the Antarctic winter and nobody can leave the base, no matter what emergency.
The station is the closest thing on Earth to interplanetary exploration. Studying the effects of isolation there is preparing ESA for the real thing: a mission to Mars.
This cloudless view of central and northern Italy, the snow-capped Alps and the European heartland was snapped by an experimental camera, smaller than an espresso cup, aboard ESA’s minisatellite Proba-2. One of the 17 experimental technologies hosted on Proba-2 is the compact Exploration Camera, X-Cam, manufactured by Swiss company Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration. Housed on the underside of the satellite, the monochrome X-Cam observes in the visible and infrared with a 100° field of view. This image was acquired by Proba-2’s X-Cam on 7 June 2013.
Wide-angle view of Luca Parmitano seen through the small window of the Space Station's Quest airlock while preparing to exit on 9 July to begin his first spacewalk. When he came back from his second spacewalk with water in his helmet, the view was very similar when seen from the inside the Station. Read more here.
A feature called a propeller can be seen in the lower left of this image, and has been dubbed “Earhart” by Cassini scientists.
Scientists hope to understand how the bodies which generate the features – themselves too small to be seen, yet significantly larger than a typical ring particle – move around the ring over time. It is hoped that these features may provide insights about how forming planets move around their solar systems.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane and was acquired at a distance of approximately 400,000 kilometres from Saturn. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 11, 2013 and added to the Cassini image gallery on 19 August 2013. Image scale is 2 kilometres per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
Slow motion views of a high-speed planetary penetrator impact into 10 tonnes of ice at 341 m/s. The test was conducted on 11 July 2013 at the rocket sled test facility at the Ministry of Defence Pendine site in Wales, UK. The tests were conducted as part of ESA’s Core Technology Programme under the Future Missions Preparation Office. They are being led by Astrium UK, with involvement by Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Qinetiq and Rapid Space Technologies.
Week in Images
19-23 August 2013