New Image of Rosetta’s Comet Reveals So Much More

by Jason Major on July 31, 2014

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko imaged by OSIRIS on July 29, 2014

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko imaged by OSIRIS’ NAC on July 29, 2014

WOW! We’re really getting to the good stuff now! This is no computer-generated shape model, this is the real deal: the double-lobed nucleus of Comet 67P/C-G, as imaged by Rosetta’s OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) narrow-angle camera on Tuesday, July 29. At the time just about a week away from making its arrival, ESA’s spacecraft was 1,950 km (1,211 miles) from the comet when this image was taken. (That’s about the distance between Providence, Rhode Island and Miami, Florida… that’s one fancy zoom lens, Rosetta!)

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was imaged on 14 July 2014 by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, from a distance of approximately 12 000 km. This movie uses a sequence of 36 interpolated images each separated by 20 minutes, providing a 360° preview of the complex shape of the comet. (ESA)

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko imaged on July 14, 2014 by OSIRIS from a distance of approximately 12,000 km. (ESA)

This latest image reveals some actual surface features of the 4-km-wide comet, from a few troughs and mounds to the previously-noted bright band around the “neck” connecting the two lobes. The resolution in the July 29 OSIRIS image is 37 meters per pixel.

Since Rosetta is quickly closing the gap between itself and the comet we can only expect better images to come in the days ahead, so stay tuned — this is going to be an exciting August!

Keep up with the latest news on ESA’s Rosetta blog here, and find out where exactly Rosetta and Comet 67P/C-G are in the Solar System here.

Watch: Once Upon a Time There Was a Spacecraft Called Rosetta

Image credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Source: ESA

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

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