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ESA's Rosetta and SMART-1 Spacecraft.


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Rosetta and SMART-1 Spacecraft.
ESA's Rosetta and SMART-1 Spacecraft.

Satellite View of Istanbul.

This satellite view of Istanbul, taken by the ESA's Envisat satellite, was taken using its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR). Radar doesn't actually build up images in colour, it just measures different textures. So the colour in this image represents different times that the radar images were acquired. It's possible to see the bridges that span the narrow Bosporus channel, dividing Europe and Asia. You can even see a few ships sailing up the channel as little points of light.

Cebreros is Ready and Listening.

The European Space Agency's new powerful 35-metre radio antenna in Cebreros, Spain came online earlier this month, to assist communications with the agency's growing fleet of spacecraft. Construction of the dish went very quickly; workers only broke ground a little more than a year ago. The dish has already received signals from the ESA's Rosetta and SMART-1 spacecraft as well as several radio-emitting stars. The Cebreros dish will also support the Venus Express On 9 June, a powerful new 35-metre antenna, presently undergoing acceptance testing at Cebreros, Spain, successfully picked up signals and tracked Rosetta and SMART-1. It is ESA's second deep-space ground station in its class and adds Ka-band reception capability and high pointing precision to the ESTRACK network.

Planets Under Construction.

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered a massive planetary zone forming around the star system TW Hydrae. By probing this vast disk of material with the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array in the radio spectrum, they have detected that rocks and pebbles extend outward for at least 1.6 billion km (1 billion miles). These chunks of rock will slowly clump together, eventually forming larger and larger planets over millions of years. This is the first time Astronomers have seen this intermediate stage, after pure dust, but before planets.

Pan's Influence on the Rings .

NASA's Cassini spacecraft took this photograph of Saturn's Moon Pan, embedded in the Encke Gap in Saturn's A ring. In the first picture, you can see the ripples in the ring due to Pan's gravity, and then another image without this wake. Pan is only 20 km (12 miles) across, but the effect of its gravity is quite impressive on the fragile rings.

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