In another example of the Earth-oriented focus of the world’s space agencies, ESA salutes Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday with this shot of the Galapagos Islands.
Discovered in 1535, the islands became famous in the early 19th century when English scientist Charles Darwin wrote ‘The origin of species’ based on his observations made on Galapagos.
Galapagos’s largest island is Isabela (visible). The five volcanoes seen on the island are (from north to south): Wolf Volcano, Darwin Volcano, Alcedo Volcano, Sierra Negra Volcano and Cerro Azul Volcano. The bigger island to the right of Isabela is Santiago Island.
via ESA – Observing the Earth – Earth from Space: Galapagos Islands.
Venus: another planet with a vortex scientists can’t explain
The European Space Agency reports that Venus’s south pole (the yellow dot in the image, below) has “an enormous structure with a central part that looks like the eye of a hurricane, (which) morphs and changes shape within a matter of days, leaving scientists puzzled.”
One ESA scientist says the vortex is the result of gases swirling down to the planet’s surface, “similar to what you might see in your bathtub once you have pulled out the plug .”
ESA Portal – The puzzling eye of a hurricane on Venus
The puzzling eye of a hurricane on Venus
13 March 2008
Venus Express has constantly been observing the south pole of Venus and has found it to be surprisingly fickle. An enormous structure with a central part that looks like the eye of a hurricane, morphs and changes shape within a matter of days, leaving scientists puzzled.