Rocket Dances With The Northern Lights + View From Space

  • Feb 19, 2016 4:44am GMT

The European Space Agency has releaesed two impressive videos. The first is a 9 second video that captures a surprising view of their Sentinel-3A rocket on its way into orbit amidst the shimmering northern lights. The second is a spectacular night view from space of the lights on earth from over the English Channel heading north over Russia.

The footage in the first video, taken from Karigasniemi in northern Finland, shows the rocket and what could be the jettisoned first or second stage of the rocket following behind. Sentinel-3A was launched from Plesetsk in Russia 1000 km away at 17:57 GMT on 16 February 2016. This footage was taken from a hilltop about six minutes after liftoff.

Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3A will measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The mission is the third of six families of dedicated missions that make up the core of Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network. Copernicus relies on the Sentinels and contributing missions to provide data for monitoring the environment and supporting civil security activities.

Over oceans, it measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements will be used, for example, to monitor changes in Earth’s climate and for more hands-on applications such as marine pollution and biological productivity. Over land, this innovative mission will monitor wildfires, map the way land is used, check vegetation health and measure the height of rivers and lakes.

“This is the third of the Sentinel satellites launched in the less than two years – and it is certainly a special moment. It also marks a new era for the Copernicus Services, with Sentinel-3 providing a whole range of new data with unprecedented coverage of the oceans,” said the Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig.

Sentinel-3B, its twin satellite, is scheduled for launch next year. Data from all the Sentinels are used worldwide and are free of charge for all users.