European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Virtual Milky Way
10-11-2016 11:51 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Virtual Milky Way

ESA’s Gaia is surveying stars in our Galaxy and local galactic neighbourhood in order to build the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way and answer questions about its structure, origin and evolution.

Launched in 2013, Gaia has already generated its first catalogue of more than a billion stars – the largest all-sky survey of celestial objects to date.

To achieve its scientific aims, it points with ultra-high precision, and to enable the control team to monitor spacecraft performance, Gaia regularly reports to the ground information about its current attitude and the stars that have been observed.

These engineering data have been accumulated over 18 months and combined to create a ‘map’ of the observed star densities, from which a beautiful and ghostly virtual image of our magnificent Milky Way galaxy can be discerned, showing the attendant globular clusters and Magellanic clouds.

Where there are more stars, as in the Galactic centre, the map is brighter; where there are fewer, the map is darker. The map includes brightness data corresponding to several million stars.

More information on Gaia mission operations.

Editor’s note: On 21 November, at 15:00 GMT / 16:00 CET, the Gaia mission team will host a live ‘Ask Me Anything’ chat. Details will be posted via ESA social media channels later.

Credit: ESA

Manila from Sentinel-1A
10-11-2016 09:28 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Manila from Sentinel-1A

This Sentinel-1A radar image from 8 October 2016 features Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Manila, the most densely populated city in the world, is on the eastern shore of Manila Bay in the South China Sea. Numerous vessels can be clearly picked out around the busy port. To the east of the city lies the largest lake in the Philippines, Laguna de Baý. Manila is also home to the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank. On 9 November 2016, ESA and the Asian Development Bank signed an agreement to collaborate on using Earth observation to support sustainable development.

Read full story: ESA and Asian Development Bank join forces.

Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2015), processed by ESA

Weightless vibrations
10-11-2016 09:16 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Weightless vibrations

Scientists and students last week took part in ESA’s 65th campaign that offers around 20 seconds of weightlessness at each apex of an aircraft’s rollercoaster flight.

This student team from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, investigated how piezoelectric devices can be used to control fluids in weightlessness.

The minute vibrations over a wide frequency range were used to change the shape of a liquid inside a container.

The hope is that the approach could be used in satellites to feed fuel into engines or water in spacecraft from storage tanks to drinking dispensers instead of mechanical pumps or pressurised systems.

The “Fly your thesis!” programme gives master and PhD candidates an opportunity to work in microgravity conditions. The experiments can be related to fluid physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences, heat transfer and astrophysics.

More information about the flights can be found here.

Credit: ESA

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