Planck captured the earliest light in the Universe


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) reveals the legacy of the Planck mission, which literally shed new light on the beginning of our Universe.

Between 2009 and 2013, Planck scanned the sky for microwave and infrared frequencies and mapped the very first light to ever emerge, including light that existed before the first stars or galaxies were formed.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

Discovery by NASA will transform space exploration


Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard describes how NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has changed the course of space exploration by tracking down the origin of a high-energy particle, known as a neutrino, for the very first time.

Neutrinos are also called ghost particles because they normally pass through matter completely undetected at just under the speed of light.

Last September, a neutrino struck Antarctic ice with such force that it produced a traceable particle called a muon. The activity was detected by a network of sensors underneath the ice known as IceCube, which identified the trajectory of the neutrino and alerted experts at other observatories to look for its source.

Fermi traced the ghost particle back to heightened activity in a galaxy 3.7 billion light years away – blazar TXS 0506+056.

Detecting neutrinos, which are some of the most abundant substances on the planet, will provide scientists with a brand new way to explore outer space.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NASA Goddard

Shanghai from space


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) gives us a glimpse of Shanghai, China, from space. With over 24 million residents, Shanghai is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

The city is a global financial hub, due in large part to its location on China’s central coast near the mouth of the Yangtze River. The Shanghai port is the world’s busiest container port.

The video is part of the ESA’s Earth from Space series.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

The Aeolus wind satellite is prepared for liftoff


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency introduces the Aeolus wind satellite, which is finally complete and prepared for launch after 16 years of development.

The Aeolus mission will be the first to collect wind data on a global scale. This data will be used to create better climate models that will improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.

Aeolus produces a powerful ultraviolet laser beam that reflects off of air particles in the atmosphere. The changing frequencies of the light that is bounced back to the spacecraft are used to calculate wind speeds at different altitudes.

Next month, Aeolus will be launched on top of a Vega rocket from Kourou in French Guiana.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

A tour of Iceland from space


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) features incredible views of Iceland captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite. This volcanic island draws tourists year-round with its natural beauty and attractions such as glaciers, lakes, and hot springs.

The Sentinel-2 mission is designed to monitor land changes, particularly across vegetation, and can even detect changes in the mineral composition of soil. The “space segment” of the mission is made up of two identical satellites in the same orbit, which are positioned 180 degrees apart for the best coverage. 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

Amazing view of an aurora from space


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency shows how incredible an aurora looks from space, and was captured by Alexander Gerst 10 days after he arrived at the International Space Station for the Horizons mission.

The time lapse is made up of 950 images, which were taken every 0.5 seconds during one of the Space Station’s 16 daily orbits.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

Cosmic rays reach the Earth from 7,500 light years away


Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard features Eta Carinae, the biggest and brightest stellar system within 10,000 light years of our planet.

New research based on data from the NuStar Space Telescope suggests that interaction between the system’s two massive stars creates cosmic rays that reach the Earth at nearly the speed of light.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NASA Goddard

HERA will collect unprecedented asteroid data


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) introduces the HERA mission, part of the upcoming Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) that will test the feasibility of diverting an asteroid away from the planet.

The scientists will use the DART spacecraft to impact the smaller body of a double-asteroid system called Didymos as it approaches the Earth in 2022. The HERA spacecraft will then inspect the outcome of the high-speed collision, providing scientists with invaluable information that can be used to refine their deflection technique.

HERA will also collect data from the interior and exterior structures of Didymos to give scientists a better understanding of asteroids, including how they form in the solar system.

Today is National Asteroid Day, and the ESA has teamed up with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to host a live webcast starting at 7:00 AM.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

 

The James Webb Space Telescope


Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard introduces the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the largest and most powerful telescope ever sent into space.

Named after NASA’s second administrator, the massive telescope is three stories high and the size of a tennis court. The instrument is so large that it will have to be folded to fit into the rocket that will carry it to space after being launched in French Guiana.

The telescope has been designed to observe infrared light with such extraordinary sensitivity that it will be able to see the first galaxies born after the Big Bang over 13.5 billion years ago.

The international Webb mission was funded in part by the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Scientists all over the world will have access to the Webb telescope, which is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NASA Goddard

Can an asteroid be diverted from Earth?


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) introduces the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, which will test the feasibility of deflecting asteroids from our planet.

The scientists will explore whether an asteroid could be successfully diverted using a high-speed impact. After the NASA DART spacecraft impacts the smaller body of a double-asteroid system called Didymos, the HERA spacecraft will inspect the outcome.

HERA will also collect data from the interior and exterior structures of the asteroids to give scientists a better understanding of how they form in the solar system.

The video is part of the ESA’s Space in Videos series.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

 

Video Credit: European Space Agency

NASA celebrates ten years of scientific discovery by Fermi


Today’s Video of the Day from NASA celebrates ten years of revolutionary discovery from the agency’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which was launched on June 11, 2018.

The satellite is designed to detect and map gamma rays, which are produced by the hottest and most energetic objects in the entire universe, such as neutron stars and supernova explosions.

Fermi has mapped these explosive events over the last decade, observing over 2,300 gamma-ray bursts.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NASA Goddard

Horizons crew arrives at the International Space Station


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency (ESA) shows the members of the Horizons crew receiving a warm welcome by astronauts at the International Space Station. The crew successfully docked at the Space Station after orbiting the Earth 34 times over the course of two days.

Led by German astronaut Alexander Gerst, the Horizons crew will conduct over 50 experiments while onboard the spacecraft, including the development of robots that can assist humans in future explorations of the Solar System.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency