Stunning Space Photos of the Week (June 15-21)
Inside the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS), the mysterious physics behind burning fuels in microgravity is being examined. This is a close-up shot of a burning droplet being extinguished. BASS will guide strategies for extinguishing accidental fires in space. Another experiment, called the Flame Extinguishment-2 (FLEX-2) instrument, released results this week detailing the surprise discovery of "cool" flames that could lead the way to cleaner ignition technologies in the automobile industry.
The European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 (ATV-4) “Albert Einstein” approaches the International Space Station shortly before docking on June 15, 2013.
The European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 (ATV-4) is the fourth robotic European resupply mission to the International Space Station. Named “Albert Einstein,” the ATV orbited the Earth for 10 days before it docked with the orbiting outpost on June 15, 2013.
Roberto Rodriguez/Rhys Taylor/Arecibo
Aricebo astronomers noticed something odd in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data... the Loch Ness Monster! Actually, it's a warped galaxy that just looks like Nessie, but we can see the likeness!
Just hours before the Northern Hemisphere entered the summer solstice, the sun erupted with a very timely M2-class flare and coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME wasn't Earth directed, but the active region where the flare occurred is rotating in our direction, so there's a small chance of some low-level flare activity over the coming days.
On June 19, 2013, the European Space Agency carried out a successful IXV Descent and Landing System Test off the east coast of Sardinia, Italy, at the Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra. The test was part of the development of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), Europe's reusable space vehicle that could, one day, launch astronauts into orbit and return to Earth.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/USGS
This week, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera released a digital terrain model (DTM) of NASA rover Opportunity's work site around the rim of Endeavour Crater. DTMs produce very colorful topographic versions of orbital images, helping us easily pick out high and low regions of the Martian landscape. Shown here are the "moving dunes" of Nili Patera.
Thierry Legault, astrophoto.fr
Astrophotographer Thierry Legault timed this photograph just right to spot the Chinese prototype space station, Tiangong-1, race across the face of the sun. The transit took less than half a second to complete, so Legault planned this photo perfectly.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
In this beautiful observation captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, it seems a galaxy has been warped into the shape of a hummingbird. The warping is caused by the gravitational interactions between the galaxy duo Arp 142, some 326 million light-years away in the southern constellation Hydra.