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Lake Tai, China

ESA Top News - 3 hours 28 min ago
Lake Tai, China Image:

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Lake Tai, the third largest freshwater lake in China. The lake, also known as Lake Taihu, is located in the Jiangsu province and is approximately 70 km long and 60 km wide, with an average water depth of approximately 2 metres. The lake discharges its waters through Wusong, Liu, Huangpu and several other rivers.

The Tai Basin is a very developed region in China, and includes the megacities Suzhou, visible east of the lake, Wuxi, visible north of the lake, and the nearby Shanghai. Over the past decades, rapid urbanisation, population growth and excessive fish farming have resulted in eutrophication – where the lake becomes enriched with minerals and nutrients.

The increase of nutrients deteriorate the water quality of the lake causing toxic algae blooms to form on the lake’s surface – threatening the quality for millions of people who depend on the lake as a source of drinking water.

In 2007, the algal blooms were so severe that the outbreak was declared a health emergency. Water supplies to Wuxi were suspended, leaving two million residents without drinking water for several weeks.

In this image captured on 24 May 2019, the algae-infested waters are clearly visible.

Algae blooms have been reported in the lake since the 1980s. Many attempts have been made to salvage the water quality of the lake including removal of the algae, closing chemical and manufacturing plants near Tai and stricter water treatment regulations.

However, the lake remains to be highly polluted. Agriculture, sewage and manufacturing still affect the lake’s waters – overloading it with nutrients.  

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The mission’s frequent revisits over the same area and high spatial resolution allow changes in inland water bodies to be closely monitored.

This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

Earth from Space: Lake Tai

ESA Top News - 3 hours 28 min ago
Video: 00:02:45

In this week's edition of the Earth from Space programme, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes usoverthe third largest freshwater lake in China.

See also Lake Tai, China to download the image.

Apply now for 2019 YGT opportunities!

ESA Top News - 5 hours 28 min ago

More than 100 explorers wanted for this year’s Young Graduate Trainee opportunities at ESA!

Making planets in a rocket

ESA Top News - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 13:27
Planet drop

How are celestial bodies created? Aside from philosophical questions, researchers are taking practical steps to investigate the very first moments when planets are born – on a sounding rocket launching from Sweden next week.

Mercury in Silhouette

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

Mercury in Silhouette Mercury in Silhouette


NGC 3717: A Nearly Sideways Spiral Galaxy

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

Some spiral galaxies are seen nearly sideways. Some spiral galaxies are seen nearly sideways.


Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

The history of the Moon is partly written in its craters. The history of the Moon is partly written in its craters.


A Mercury Transit Sequence

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

Tomorrow -- Monday --   Tomorrow -- Monday --


Saturn the Giant

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

On May 25, 1961 U.S. president On May 25, 1961 U.S. president


NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles


Mercury and the Quiet Sun

APOD - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 11:00

Mercury and the Quiet Sun Mercury and the Quiet Sun


Proxima puts European space on silver screen

ESA Top News - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 10:42
Eva Green stars in Proxima

Proxima is the new film from French filmmaker Alice Winocour, about an ESA astronaut training for a long-duration mission on the International Space Station, with the cast and crew given access to real-life training centres while making the film.

Paxi on the ISS: EVA suits

ESA Top News - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 09:00
Video: 00:03:56

Our alien friend Paxi went to visit American astronaut Anne McClain on board the International Space Station. Anne shows Paxi the EVA suits that astronauts wear during a spacewalk outside of the ISS.

Challenging spacewalks for Luca

ESA Top News - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 09:00
Video: 00:03:40

On 20 July 2019, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. During the Beyond mission he will participate in several spacewalks (EVA) to repair the dark matter hunter Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS-02. Attached to the station during the STS-134 shuttle mission in May 2011, the AMS was never designed to be maintained in orbit. Luca has trained extensively for this challenging task, which will involve complicated techniques and the use of specially-designed tools.

This A&B Roll recalls Luca Parmitano's preparations to repair the AMS at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, with interviews in English, Italian and French.

Beyond mission (portal homepage)

ESA Top News - Thu, 14/11/2019 - 06:00

Beyond mission

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s Beyond mission to the International Space Station

Behind the scenes – space-age physics

ESA Top News - Wed, 13/11/2019 - 14:37

Quietly and steadily, fundamental science for better materials on Earth runs on the International Space Station. While European commander Luca Parmitano is busy preparing for a series of complex spacewalks that take several hours of his working day in orbit, science hums in the background.

Bushfires rage in Australia

ESA Top News - Wed, 13/11/2019 - 14:30
Bushfires rage in Australia Image:

The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission captured the multiple bushfires burning across Australia’s east coast. Around 150 fires are still burning in New South Wales and Queensland, with hot and dry conditions accompanied with strong winds, said to be spreading the fires.

In this image, captured on 12 November 2019 at 23:15 UTC (13 November 09:15 local time), the fires burning near the coast are visible. Plumes of smoke can be seen drifting east over the Tasman Sea. Hazardous air quality owing to the smoke haze has reached the cities of Sydney and Brisbane and is affecting residents, the Australian Environmental Department has warned.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed, and many residents evacuated. Flame retardant was dropped in some of Sydney’s suburbs as bushfires approached the city centre. Firefighters continue to keep the blazes under control.

The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service was activated to help respond to the fires. The service uses satellite observations to help civil protection authorities and, in cases of disaster, the international humanitarian community, respond to emergencies.

Quantifying and monitoring fires is fundamental for the ongoing study of climate, as they have a significant impact on global atmospheric emissions. Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 World Fire Atlas shows that there were almost five times as many wildfires in August 2019 compared to August 2018.

Watch live: first #SpacewalkForAMS

ESA Top News - Wed, 13/11/2019 - 11:01
Luca spacewalker

Tune in to ESA Web TV from 12:50 CET (11:50 GMT) this Friday 15 November to watch ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano become the first European to lead a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

ESA’s Mars orbiters did not see latest Curiosity methane burst

ESA Top News - Wed, 13/11/2019 - 10:00
Mars Express

In June, NASA’s Curiosity rover reported the highest burst of methane recorded yet, but neither ESA’s Mars Express nor the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter recorded any signs of the elusive gas, despite flying over the same location at a similar time.

Messier 45: The Daughters of Atlas and Pleione

APOD - Wed, 13/11/2019 - 09:00

Hurtling through a Hurtling through a


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