These both are images of the comet 67P/C-G (which will soon be the 1st comet to be landed on): one is the view from a ground-based telescope (VLT) and the other a close-up taken with the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe navigation camera.

Rosetta is the mission which took a 10-year journey to its destination to unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System.

Credit & copyright: C. Snodgrass/ESO/ESA, MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Last week, my friend, astrophotographer Raivo Hein, skyped me and gave me the chance to see the process of capturing an image with his new telescope and software. I saw a tiny part of this because the final photograph takes many days to complete but I still learned a lot about his techniques. So you can see the outcome above — the Triangulum galaxy (M33) which is the third largest member in the Local Group of galaxies after Andromeda and our own Milky Way. (more from Raivo here)

13 Popular Science Books Everyone Should Read

dailyzenlist:

1. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking — A book in which Hawking attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology to the non-specialist reader.

2. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson — The history of science through the stories of the people who made the discoveries.

3. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan — An explanation of the scientific method for laypeople.

4. Cosmos by Carl Sagan — Sagan explores 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of science and civilization

5. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins — A look at evolution from the viewpoint of genes.

6. Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman — Six simplified chapters that explain the forces of the universe.

7. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene — A non-technical assessment of string and superstring theory and some of its shortcomings.

8. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre — A look at how people bend science to fit their agendas. 

9. The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins — A look at the flaws of intelligent design and why natural selection is the only reality.

10. Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan — A vision of the human future in space.

11. Physics of the Impossible by Dr. Michio Kaku — Kaku discusses speculative technologies to introduce topics of fundamental physics.

12. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman — A look at how the different senses work and the varied means by which different cultures have sought to stimulate them.

13. Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter — Learn how concepts in mathematics, symmetry, and intelligence are connected.

Something I should’ve written way back – my summer internship at Tartu Observatory’s space technology department and the satellite team ESTCube
To give a brief overview, ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite launched last year. Its primary mission is to perform the first (yeah, a lot of firsts) in-orbit demonstration of the electric solar wind sail (E-sail) concept. It’s a propulsion innovation made by Finnish researcher Pekka Janhunen in 2006, which uses long centrifugally spanned and electrically charged tethers to extract the solar wind momentum for spacecraft thrust. Once operational, its technology is expected to revolutionize the space travel within our solar system.
My internship didn’t last long, because I had already been working in the astrophysics department before that, so it was all basically kind of an introduction into the field, getting to know ESTCube-1 subsystems and the experiment which will be performed within a few weeks (you can read more about that below). I learned about the satellite’s attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and then calculated spacecraft’s thrust during the beginning of the experiment, so per tether length and taking the conditions of Earth’s plasma into account.
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ESTCube-1 will measure the Coulomb drag force exerted by a natural plasma stream on a charged tether and, therefore, perform the basic proof of concept measurement and technology demonstration of electric solar wind sail technology.
The satellite’s payload includes one E-sail tether, deployable to 10-m length. The tether is stored on a motorized reel and can be reeled out upon request from the ground. The principle of tether deployment is similar to the proposed principle of larger E-sails, i.e. the satellite is spun around its axis of the maximum moment of inertia and the exiting tether is stretched by the effect of centrifugal force. This force is enhanced by placing a small end mass at the tip of the tether.Successful deployment of the tether is verified by observing a noticeable drop in the satellite’s spin rate. Once deployed, the tether will be charged with a voltage of 500 V.  Because of its low-Earth orbit with 660–680 km altitude ESTCube-1 is not influenced by solar wind. Instead, the charged tether shall interact with the ionospheric plasma.(article here)

Something I should’ve written way back – my summer internship at Tartu Observatory’s space technology department and the satellite team ESTCube

To give a brief overview, ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite launched last year. Its primary mission is to perform the first (yeah, a lot of firsts) in-orbit demonstration of the electric solar wind sail (E-sail) concept. It’s a propulsion innovation made by Finnish researcher Pekka Janhunen in 2006, which uses long centrifugally spanned and electrically charged tethers to extract the solar wind momentum for spacecraft thrust. Once operational, its technology is expected to revolutionize the space travel within our solar system.

My internship didn’t last long, because I had already been working in the astrophysics department before that, so it was all basically kind of an introduction into the field, getting to know ESTCube-1 subsystems and the experiment which will be performed within a few weeks (you can read more about that below). I learned about the satellite’s attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and then calculated spacecraft’s thrust during the beginning of the experiment, so per tether length and taking the conditions of Earth’s plasma into account.

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