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The European Space Agency - Europe’s gateway to space.

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ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 27, 2017

to this day in 2009, when Soyuz TMA-15 was launched to the with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne and colleagues Roman Romanenko and Bob Thirsk. Thirsk became the Canadian to fly on a Soyuz, and De Winne became the first European to command an ISS Expedition (Exp. 21). Credit: ESA

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 26, 2017

Did you see it? 💥⠀ ⠀ Since March 2017, the NELIOTA project has been monitoring the dark side of the Moon for flashes of light caused by tiny pieces of rock striking the Moon's surface.⠀ ⠀ This sequence of 12 consecutive frames shows a bright flash detected on 4 frames during observations on 1 March 2017. The red arrows point to the location of the impact flash, near the edge of the frame.⠀ ⠀ Go to our Story to learn more about the NELIOTA project. ⠀ ⠀ 📹 NELIOTA project

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 26, 2017

This is eastern , where break out in the boreal forests most summers, but last year was particularly bad. Here we see blazes that had plagued Russia’s Oblast since July. It is thought that drier conditions associated with warmer weather – with June 2016 being the hottest on record – contributed to the unusually large number of fires. A state of emergency was imposed on this area during the wildfires. The boreal forest , exclusive to the northern hemisphere, spans Russia, northern Europe, Canada and Alaska, comprising interrelated made up of forests, , , rivers and tundra. These , including their soil, store a third more carbon stocks per hectare as tropical forests, making them one of the most significant stores in the world. Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO 2 Oblast

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 25, 2017

Happy Africa Day!⠀ ⠀ Did you know Africa covers about 20% of the total land area in the world?⠀ ⠀ Go to our Story to learn more about the continent, and follow the link in our bio to explore our Space for Earth African site.⠀ ⠀ 📸 contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by Brockmann Consult/ as part of our Climate Change Initiative Land Cover project, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 25, 2017

Baby steps! Check out the photos of ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer's first steps in how to work in a space suit in open space. Also known as EVA training, it takes place under water. Credit: ESA/NASA

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 25, 2017

time! 🚀🚀 This image shows part of a bubble-like cloud of gas — a nebula named Sh2-308 — surrounding a massive and violent star named EZ Canis Majoris. EZ Canis Majoris is something known as a Wolf-Rayet star, and is one of the brightest known stars of its kind. Its outer shell of hydrogen gas has been used up, revealing inner layers of heavier elements that burn at ferocious temperatures. The intense radiation pouring out from EZ Canis Majoris forms thick stellar winds that whip up nearby material, sculpting and blowing it outwards. These processes have moulded the surrounding gas into a vast bubble. A bubble nebula produced by a Wolf-Rayet star is made of ionised hydrogen (HII), which is often found in interstellar space. In this case, it is the outer hydrogen layers of EZ Canis Majoris — the bubble — that are being inflated by the deluge of radiation — the air — coming from the central star. The fringes of these bubbles are nebulous and wispy, as can be seen in this image. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA tuff

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 24, 2017

More for today! Let’s contemplate the magnificence of flying over Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, here imaged by (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)'s ALOS . The area around Mount Kenya is a national park protecting biodiversity and forming an attractive destination for tourists. The Mount Kenya National Park and its natural forest has been a World Heritage Site since 1997. Credit: JAXA/ESA

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 24, 2017

Check out this view of Mount St. Helens in the , taken by ESA's Proba-1 satellite in 2005. Another example of nature acting as mesmerising art! Credit: ESA

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 23, 2017

is one of the brightest stars in the sky. ☄☄ At roughly 25 light-years away the star lies especially close to us, and can be seen shining brightly in the constellation of  Austrinus (The Southern Fish). Fomalhaut’s disc comprises a mix of cosmic  and gas from in the Fomalhaut system (exocomets), released as the exocomets graze past and smash into one another. This turbulent environment resembles an early period in our own Solar System known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, which occurred approximately four billions years ago. This era saw huge numbers of rocky objects hurtle into the inner Solar System and collide with the young terrestrial planets, including Earth, where they formed a myriad of impact craters — many of which remain visible today on the surfaces of planets such as Mercury and Mars. Fomalhaut is known to be surrounded by several discs of debris — the one visible in this ALMA image is the outermost one. The ring is approximately 20 billion kilometers from the central star and about 2 billion kilometers wide. Such a relative narrow, eccentric disc can only be produced by the gravitational influence of planets in the system, like Jupiter’s gravitational influence on our asteroid belt. In 2008 the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope discovered the famous exoplanet Fomalhaut b orbiting within this belt, but the planet is not visible in this ALMA image. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Matrà/M. A. MacGregor

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 23, 2017

Lost in the photosphere by Aoife van Linden Tol.⠀ ⠀ An abstract sketch by Aoife van Linden Tol, the recipient of the first ESA–Ars Electronica residency, created in May 2017 during her second stay at our technical heart in the Netherlands.⠀ ⠀ The sketch, made with charcoal powder and pigments, is inspired by multicolour images of the Sun like those collected with the / SOHO observatory.⠀ ⠀ Go to our Story to learn more about this piece and about art&science ⠀ ⠀ 👩‍🎨 A. van Linden Tol

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 22, 2017

Launching a drone in a cave? Yes!⠀ ⠀ Our astronaut, Luca Parmitano last weekend helped to explore the caverns under Sicily using a drone that deliberately bumped into its surroundings in order to build a map.⠀ ⠀ Go to our Story to learn more.⠀ ⠀ 📸 licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

ESA @europeanspaceagency Instagram Photo / Video — May 21, 2017

( ) ・・・ Very little wildlife on the Space Station, and certainly no butterflies. We must take care of our natural habitats, you don't know what you are missing until you spend six months in space! / Les papillons et la faune est absente de la Station et la flore se résume à quelques laitues sous serre… La nature nous manque dès qu’on en est privé ! Le séjour dans l'espace nous rend encore plus conscients de la nécessité (et l'urgence !) qu'il y a à la protéger... /