Rosetta’s Target Looking More Like A Comet

Rosetta’s Target Looking More Like A Comet

Close-up of comet on 30 April node full image.png



The Rosetta mission is definitely one to watch this year. The spacecraft is on a mission to intercept the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This comet has a 6.5 year orbit. Until now the comet hasn't looked much like you or I would expect to see as it was too far from the Sun and so not showing any signs of a tail. But now the comet has come close enough to the Sun that the tail is beginning to form, called a coma. Although, close to the Sun at this stage is still 600 million km away. This is about four times the distance of Earth from the Sun. The image you see above from the Rosetta spacecraft is taken about 2 million km away from the comet. The coma at this time only extends 1300 km into space. This is certainly going to increase as the comet nears closer to the Sun in the coming months. This mission should provide some truly amazing images of a comet in the near future. The globular cluster you can see is M107.


To learn more:


http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Rosetta_s_target_comet_is_becoming_active


Image credit:


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

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