Category Archives: Rosetta

Comet in 3D


A great 3D image from the Rosetta spacecraft.

From ESA:

A 3D anaglyph view of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko based on two images from Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera on 12 August 2015, capturing a spectacular jet. The two images are separated by 2 minutes 28 seconds, which corresponds to a stereo angle of 1.2º. The image scale is 3.9 m per pixel. In this orientation the Babi and Aker regions are visible on the large lobe to the left, while Ma’at and the circular Hatmehit depression are seen on the small lobe to the right. Diffuse dust emission and other jets are visible all around the nucleus.

The image is best enjoyed with red–blue/green 3D anaglyph glasses.

Check out the the blog: Comet jet in 3D

Rosetta and the Comet

Rosetta has been returning some stunning images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that ESA is putting up on the Rosetta Blog.


This one shows 67P/G-C from a distance of 415 km / 258 miles show nice outgassing.  We are looking at the southern hemisphere some of which has been in darkness for five and a half years, just becoming visible in May.

Image: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0



Rosetta’s Moment in the Sun

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its human-made-moon called Rosetta has now passed its closest distance to the Sun in this orbit (perihelion) and is now spending several weeks at peak activity. The activity means the flight operations team must be prepared to react to fast jets of dust and gas erupting from the comet or stray boulders ejected from its surface.

Video from ESA

The Surface of a Comet

The Philae lander shows us what the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko looks like in this very nice image.  I don’t know what I expected to see, but this is surprisingly familiar. I wonder what the surface make up is.



From ESA:
This image was taken by Philae’s ROsetta Lander Imaging System, ROLIS 9 m above the Agilkia landing site on the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was acquired at 15:33:58 GMT on 12 November 2014. The image measures 9.7 m across and the image scale is 0.95 cm/pixel. Part of Philae’s landing gear can be seen in the top corners.

This detailed image reveals the granular texture of the comet’s surface down to the cm scale, with fragments of material of diverse shapes and random orientations seen in clusters or alone. The regolith in this region is thought to extend to a depth of 2 m in places, but seems to be free from very fine-grained dust deposits at the resolution of the images.

Rosetta’s Comet Seen From Earth


What a really great image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko!

The image was taken from the 2 meter Liverpool Telescope on 19 July 2015 (Credit: Colin Snodgrass / Geraint Jones / Liverpool Telecope). The tail is estimated to be 120,000 km / 75,565 miles.

There ia an excellent Q&A titled: CHASING A COMET FROM EARTH – UPDATE ON THE PROFESSIONAL OBSERVING CAMPAIGN on the Rosetta Blog. Definately worth the visit.

Rosetta Blog will be updating the  Amateur Observation Campaign in the near future.

Active Pits on Rosetta’s Comet


On 20 September 2014, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft made an extremely close pass to Comet 67/P Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This image was taken from just 26 km / 16 miles from the surface.

There are 18 pits identified on 67/G-C, each named for the region they are in. Some are active and some are not. This image shows the Seth series of pits, Seth_01 is the one in the center and the easiet to recognize. See this ESA post for more location information. Seth_01 is 220 m / 722 feet across and 185 m / 607 feet deep. We don’t see activity in the image, however the diversity of the terrain was the goal.

I will admit to fiddling with the image to see if I could bring out some activty but I could not. One has to wonder if the same image was taken today if activity would be seen.


Shining Boulders

khepryiceThese images from the Rosetta orbiter around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko show what appear to be a shiny rock outcrop in the Khepry region (top image) and a lone boulder in the Hatmehit region (bottom image). There have been 120 such areas like these found on the comet.

These particular images were taken last September from about 20 km.

What are the shiny objects? They are thought to be exposed patches of water-ice!

Panspermia anyone?

Check out the full story: Exposed water ice detected on comet’s surface

Rosetta’s View of the Comet


This is a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko just before receiving the long awaited signal from Philae on 13 June. Rosetta was just 201 km / 125 miles from the center of the comet at the time. The image has the small lobe to the right and the depression called Hatmehit is visible. Philae is thought to be situated near the top right of the image just outside the rim.

Philae is receiving enough sunlight to attain an acceptable operation temperature and generate electricity. The local “comet day” the power generated rises from about 13 watts at sunrise to a bit more than 24 watts. the power required to turn on the transmitter is 19 watts. I should note the comet has about a 12 hour rotation and the day light cycle is some portion of that and may be more or less than half the time. The time the solar panels receive power is 135 minutes during the daylight cycle.

While the information we have is very preliminary, it appears that the lander is in as good a condition as we could have hoped,” says Dr Ulamec.

Get all the details here.
Copyright ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Rosetta Update


I know, it’s been a while.  Rosetta is still orbiting Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasineko and the spacecraft is doing well.
It has to be, the distance between Rosetta and the comet is 200 km / 124 miles and the pair
are moving at 30.91 km/s / 69,143 mph!

The comet is a little over 310,344,000 km / 192,839,000 miles. The pair should be closing
in on the orbit of Mars, which it will do at a fairly shallow angle.

As the pair gets closer the expected increase in activity in terms of streamers coming off the comet is occurring.

The Rosetta blog shows an enhanced version and a nice description including topographical  features of the comet.