Aeolus: of weather and winds

Thanks to the wind, heat is distributed around the planet. Equatorial regions receive more heat from the Sun than other parts of the world. This leads to differences in air temperature, density and pressure, which in turn, cause the air to move – creating wind. This movement of air constitutes the general circulation of the atmosphere, transporting heat away from equatorial regions towards the poles, and returning cooler air to the tropics. The wind clearly plays an important role in weather forecasts, which in turn are not only important for planning our daily affairs, but vital for numerous commercial activities such as farming, fishing, transport, and for taking appropriate measures when extreme weather is on the horizon. Although weather forecasts have advanced considerably in recent years, there is a need for global wind measurements to improve them even further. ESA’s Aeolus mission will fill this gap by providing global wind-profiles in near-real time. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts will process these data and the data in their numerical weather prediction models, which will lead to better forecasting.

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When can I see Rosetta’s comet again?

In August 2015 Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reached its closest point to the Sun along its orbit. ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft was there to monitor the comet’s activity as it reached a maximum, its frozen ices warmed by increasing solar radiation, escaping into space as streams of gas and dust. Rosetta’s work may now be complete, but the comet continues along its 6.4 year orbit around the Sun, which takes it beyond the orbit of Jupiter at its furthest. In three years time it will return to our skies again, and this time may even be visible through binoculars.

Colin Snodgrass of the Open University and ground-based observation campaign coordinator for the comet tells ESA Web TV how scientists are trying to match up what is seen in the wide views of the comet from Earth with the unique close-up images provided by Rosetta, and what astronomers are planning for future observations when it returns to our skies. With the comet making a closer pass to Earth than the last time, and at the same time being closest to the Sun, it will be brighter in our skies than during the Rosetta mission. Get your binoculars ready for late 2021!

This is an ESA Web TV interview filmed in Rhodes, Greece during the 49th Rosetta Science Working Team Meeting in May 2018. The video contains imagery from a range of telescopes (indicated within) along with images from Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera (credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA – CC BY-SA 4.0).

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Aeolus: preparing for launch

ESA’s Martin Kaspers joins us at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, where Aeolus is being readied for liftoff on 21 August 2018. Martin discusses some of the challenges they have encountered developing this state-of-the-art satellite mission. Aeolus uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds – a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

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What’s it like to be a freelance designer?

The skills you need to be a freelancer, the challenges you’ll face, and all the other inside info you need to know before deciding to become a freelancer! Please remember to subscribe

Huge thanks to Nancy for sharing her freelance experience! Check out this video we filmed on her channel about living a remote life:

This video is part of my design jobs series where I’m aiming to help you figure out what type of design role will suit you best. See more in this series here:



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Hello there! I’m Charli and I’m a web and graphic designer from New Zealand currently living in London and posting design videos every Saturday about tools, projects, and concepts and vlogs every Tuesday about my life as a designer. Please subscribe and say hi in the comments so we can be friends 🙂



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JWST: a beacon for science

Astronomers all over the world are eagerly awaiting the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. The infrared space telescope, which will carry the largest astronomical mirror ever flown in space is one of the most complex observatories ever built. It will allow unprecedented science, including investigations into the atmospheres of exoplanets and the formation of galaxies, addressing fundamental questions in astronomy. The mission is an international collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, and is planned for launch in 2021 on a European Ariane 5 rocket.

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Meteorites and us

Humans have always been fascinated by meteorites – solid pieces of debris from comets, asteroids or meteoroids that originate from outer space and survive their passage through the atmosphere, landing on Earth’s surface.

In this video Sean Blair talks about our relationship with these alien rocks – who has them? Why do they have them? How do they look after them?

Find out in the video originally created as part of ESA’s joint, live webcast with ESO for Asteroid Day 2018. Watch it here:

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Earth from Space: special edition

Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. In this special edition, ESA’s Aeolus mission scientist, Anne Grete Straume, joins us in the cleanroom at Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France. She explains how winds are generated, how they affect our weather, and how Aeolus will measure the wind and how this information will be used to improve weather forecasts and climate models.

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Aeolus to understand winds

At the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Toulouse, France, ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite has been prepared for its launch on top of a Vega rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. Liftoff is currently scheduled for August. The development of this latest Earth Explorer started 16 years ago and has now finished.

From orbit Aeolus will measure wind profiles on a global scale using a pioneering laser technology. These measurements will greatly benefit existing meteorological models and fill a gap in the observations of wind.

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ESA/ESO Asteroid Day 2018 webcast (replay)

On 30 June 2018, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and ESA teamed up to produce a packed Asteroid Day webcast, streamed live from the new ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre in Munich.

The programme featured expert interviews with ESA and ESO scientists, news and updates from Europe’s asteroid hunters and some of the most recent asteroid science results, including the blockbuster news on Oumuamua, the first-ever interplanetary visitor.
The programme also included an interview with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on the challenges of future human missions to asteroids, as well as a surprise segment that answered the age-old question: What really killed off the dinosaurs?

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Earth from space: special edition

Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. In this special edition, ESA’s Aeolus Project Manager, Anders Elfving, joins us in the cleanroom at Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, to talk about the challenges in developing the mission’s pioneering laser technology.

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