This large “flying V” is actually two distinct objects — a pair of interacting galaxies known as IC 2184. Both the galaxies are seen almost edge-on in the large, faint northern constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe), and can be seen as bright streaks of light surrounded by the ghostly shapes of their tidal tails.
These tidal tails are thin, elongated streams of gas, dust and stars that extend away from a galaxy into space. They occur when galaxies gravitationally interact with one another, and material is sheared from the outer edges of each body and flung out into space in opposite directions, forming two tails. They almost always appear curved, so when they are seen to be relatively straight, as in this image, it is clear that we are viewing the galaxies side-on.
Also visible in this image are bursts of bright blue, pinpointing hot regions where the stars from both galaxies have begun to crash together during the merger.
The image consists of visible and infrared observations from Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.
This colour-coded overhead view is based on an ESA Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera digital terrain model of the region southeast of Amenthes Planum and north of Hesperia Planum, from which the topography of the landscape can be derived. Centred at around 3°S and 109°E, the image has a ground resolution of about 22 m per pixel. The image was taken during revolution 11497 on 13 January 2013. The colour coding emphasises the superposed craters on the large 100 km-wide crater to the left (south) of the image. Also more clearly seen are the various mesa and buttes within the larger 100 km crater. At the bottom of the image is a small river valley that feeds into Palos crater, which may once have hosted a lake.
High-Resolution Stereo Camera nadir and colour channel data taken during revolution 11497 on 13 January 2013 by ESA’s Mars Express have been combined to form a natural-colour view of the region southeast of Amenthes Planum and north of Hesperia Planum. The region imaged, which lies to the west of Tinto Vallis and Palos crater, is centred at around 3°S and 109°E, and has a ground resolution of about 22 m per pixel.
The image features craters, lava channels and a valley from which water may have once flowed. Dark wind-blown sediments fill the valleys and the floors of the craters.
Hot X-ray-emitting gas detected by ESA’s XMM-Newton reveals the Eskimo’s blue face shining at 2 million degrees Celsius. It is framed by complex shells of ejected stellar material and a fur-lined hood, seen in optical wavelengths by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (red and green).
The Eskimo Nebula, or NGC 2392, is located about 4000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Gemini. Astronomer William Herschel discovered the nebula in 1787.
The Eskimo Nebula was observed by XMM-Newton’s EPIC instrument on 2 April 2004. The field of view is 1.33 x 1.33 arcmin.
This image was featured as our Space Science Image of the Week on 11 February 2013.
ESA astronaut André Kuipers is conducted many experiments during his PromISSe mission.
Here, André is recording his brain waves through 62 electrodes as part of ESA’s Neurospat experiment. The goal is to understand if the brain processes tasks differently in space.
A beautiful and expensive sight: upwards of €6 million-worth of silicon wafers, crammed with the complex integrated circuits that sit at the heart of each and every ESA mission. Years of meticulous design work went into these tiny brains, empowering satellite sensors and electronics with intelligence.
The image shows a collection of six silicon wafers that contain some 14 different chip designs developed by several European companies during the last eight years with ESA’s financial and technical support.
Each of these 15 cm-diameter wafers contains between 30 and 80 replicas of each chip, each one carrying up to about 10 million transistors or basic circuit switches.
To save money on the high cost of fabrication, various chips designed by different companies and destined for multiple ESA projects are crammed onto the same silicon wafers, etched into place at specialised semiconductor manufacturing plants or ‘fabs’, in this case LFoundry (formerly Atmel) in France.
Central Panama and its 80 km-long ship canal that connects the Atlantic – via the Caribbean Sea – and Pacific Oceans are pictured in this Envisat image. On either end of the canal, ships that are entering, exiting and waiting to cross the waterway appear as dots of red, green and blue. We can even see them in the channel and in the large Lake Gatun. Also near either end of the canal, high radar reflections appear as clusters of white dots at Panama City on the southern shore and Colon on the northern shore. This image is a compilation of three images from Envisat’s radar acquired on 24 December 2011, 23 January 2012 and 22 February 2012.
This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 is predicted to make closest approach to Earth at 20:27 CET on 15 February 2013.
In this image acquired by amateur astronomer Dave Herald, Murrumbateman, Australia, asteroid 2012 DA14 is seen as a streak running almost vertically at centre. It is a three-minute min exposure, with the asteroid seen at -82.5 degrees and heading south. The streak is quite regular - indicating no major brightness variations over a time scale of three minutes. At closest approach, the object will be moving so fast as to cover this distance in approximately 15 seconds.
Week in Images
11-15 February 2013