Space Photos of the Week: The Path of Opportunity and More


The long Martian road: In August 2010, the rover Opportunity took a picture of its course in the sand of the red planet. This image shows the pretty undulations of small dunes created by the wind, similar to those we have here on Earth. Opportunity took many epic shots like this while he was sailing around Mars for 15 years. Now, it's lost for us.

See more dunes: These crescent-shaped sand formations call Barchan dunes. In this photo, taken by the HiRISE camera of the reconnaissance orbiter on Mars, scientists can say that the prevailing winds blow from east to west. The wind pushes fine grains of sand on the slopes, creating ripples and making these shapes fascinating.

The opportunity is lost, but we're not done yet with Mars. Earlier this month, the InSight lander successfully placed a wind and heat shield on its seismometer. NASA's reconnaissance satellite, Orbiter Reconnaissance, flew over and noticed not only the dark-colored solar panels of the undercarriage, but also the new shield, which appears as a tiny white dot. Around the lander and the shield are shaded areas that show the dust raised during the landing, when InSight fired its retro rockets to slow down. This is the kind of cool photo we get when our robots are spying on our other robots.

On the other side of the solar system, we will use the Hubble Space Telescope to check the novelties of Uranus and Neptune. Like Earth, these icy planets have seasons, but they cover decades rather than mere months. On Neptune on the right, a storm fell in the dark: a vortex of about 6,800 miles appeared in the upper center, accompanied by white "companion clouds". Meanwhile, on Uranus (left), the North Pole is dominated by a giant storm. . Scientists attribute the strange time that reigns on Uranus to the rotation of the planet, which is practically tilted from one side to the other. Uranus faces the sun with its north pole during the long summer, and the theory is that this polar ice cap is a result of changes in the atmospheric flow.

The ALMA complex in Chile has long captured planets on the threshold of formation, but the telescope of the European European Observatory now takes the picture of a multistar system called AS 205. The disc in the lower right is extremely interesting: it is is a binary system. . Although we are not at a point where we can see the two stars in the disc, the severity of each one interacts with the other and leaves traces of their fierce struggle. Such systems are not out of the ordinary, according to astronomers; The important thing is that their duality affects the formation of planets. When you have more than one star, the material is moved in a more complicated way.

Are you star-struck? This composite photo of the Triangulum galaxy, also known as Messier 33 or M33, uses 54 Hubble fields of view. Scientists have identified 25 million stars scattered here from left to right over a distance of about 14,500 light-years. M33 is a spiral galaxy, similar to our own Milky Way. Astronomers are studying these two spiral galaxies as a substitute for ours.

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