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The curious case of calcium-rich supernovae
30-03-2018 04:21 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

The curious case of calcium-rich supernovae

This image, captured by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the spiral galaxy NGC 5714, about 130 million light-years away in the constellation of Boötes (the Herdsman). NGC 5714 is classified as a Sc spiral galaxy, but its spiral arms — the dominating feature of spiral galaxies — are almost impossible to see, as NGC 1787 presents itself at an almost perfectly edge-on angle.

Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, NGC 5714 was host to a fascinating and rare event in 2003. A faint supernova appeared about 8000 light-years below the central bulge of NGC 5714. Supernovae are the huge, violent explosions of dying stars, and the one that exploded in NGC 5714 — not visible in this much later image — was classified as a Type Ib/c supernova and named SN 2003dr. It was particularly interesting because its spectrum showed strong signatures of calcium.

Calcium-rich supernovae are rare and hence of great interest to astronomers. Astronomers still struggle to explain these particular explosions as their existence presents a challenge to both observation and theory. In particular, their appearance outside of galaxies, their lower luminosity compared to other supernovae, and their rapid evolution are still open questions for researchers.

Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Inauguration of the ‘Mirrored Painting’
30-03-2018 11:27 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Inauguration of the ‘Mirrored Painting’

The inauguration of the ‘Mirrored Painting’ by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, entitled ‚Ritratto di Paolo Nespoli – Astronauta, Missione VITA‘, took place on 28 March 2018 at ESRIN, ESA’s centre for Earth observation in Frascati, Italy, as the climax of a joint initiative and a permanent symbol of the important link between space and art. The event hosted by the Head of ESA ESRIN and ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes Josef Aschbacher, was attended by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, Michelangelo Pistoletto, ASI representative Fabrizio Zucchini and RAM radiartemobile representatives Dora Stiefelmeier and Mario Pieroni.

This original piece of art, created by famous artist Michelangelo Pistoletto who is known as one of the founding fathers of the Italian Arte Povera contemporary art movement, features a full-scale representation of ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli. For Paolo’s VITA mission, ESA and ASI developed original ‘space and art’ initiatives as part of the communication activities to actively involve wider audiences. This began with Pistoletto’s development with ESA of the official patch for Paolo’s mission, which includes the artist’s symbol of his Third Paradise concept in the artwork.

A natural continuation of this cooperation was the ‘SPAC3’ app, which allowed users to select and combine Paolo’s images from space with their own photos. This activity was intended to draw attention to the wellbeing of our planet, and was inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. These provided the basis for Paolo’s choice of photos, and the app users could respond with their own photos on the same theme.

As a social artwork project, SPAC3 demonstrated that the two worlds of art and science can work together with the common objective of highlighting issues affecting our planet, and showed how involving a wider public could contribute to the vision and become part of this collective work. This joint initiative was made possible via a partnership between ESA and RAM radioartemobile, in cooperation with ASI and Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto.

Credits: ESA – M. Valentini

Egg Island, Bahamas
30-03-2018 10:22 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Egg Island, Bahamas

When it comes to eggs, most of us are probably thinking of the chocolate variety that we hope will pass our way this weekend, but they’re difficult to spot from space. Instead, we can offer you this gorgeous Copernicus Sentinel-2B picture of Egg Island in the Bahamas.

Covering just 800 sq m, Egg Island is officially an islet. This tiny uninhabited patch is at the northwest end of the long thin chain of islands that form the Eleuthera archipelago, about 70 km from Nassau. Its name perhaps originates from the seabird eggs collected here.

The image, which Sentinel-2B captured on 2 February 2018, shows the sharp contrast between the beautiful shallow turquoise waters to the southwest and the deeper darker Atlantic waters to the northeast. Ripples of sand waves created by currents stand out in the shallow waters. These shallow waters are a natural nursery for sea turtles and other sea life. Any disturbance to this delicate ecosystem could spell disaster for wildlife. In fact, Egg Island was recently at risk of being developed as a cruise ship port, which would have meant dredging the seabed and destroying coral reefs. Fortunately, this plan didn’t take hold because of the damage it would cause to the environment.

This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme .

Credits: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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