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Rosetta Gets Up Close and Personal With Comet 67P

The surface of 67P/C-G imaged by Rosetta on Feb. 14, 2015 from about 8.9 km (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

The surface of 67P/C-G imaged by Rosetta on Feb. 14, 2015 from about 8.9 km (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

On Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, the Rosetta spacecraft performed a bit of a barnstorming act, swooping low over the surface of comet 67P/C-G in the first dedicated close pass of its mission. It came within a scant 6 km (3.7 miles) of the comet’s surface at 12:41 GMT. The image above is a mosaic of four individual NavCam images acquired just shortly afterwards, when Rosetta was about 8.9 km from the comet.

Higher-resolution OSIRIS images should be downlinked from the spacecraft within the next few days.

The view above looks across much of the Imhotep region along the flat bottom of comet 67P’s larger lobe. (See a map of 67P’s named regions here.) At the top is the flat “plain” where the Cheops boulder cluster can be seen – the largest of which, Cheops itself, is 45 meters (148 feet) across.

After the close pass Rosetta headed out to a distance of about 253 km (157 miles) before beginning preparations to approach closer again. Over the course of Rosetta’s mission this year flybys will be the “new normal,” but none will be as close as the Feb. 14 pass.

Watch a video from ESA about the close pass below, and find more images from the flyby in my article on Universe Today here.

And here’s a colorized image of 67P, made from a NavCam image acquired on Feb. 18 from a distance of 198 km. (Source)

Colorized view of comet 67P/CG as seen my Rosetta on Feb. 18, 2015

Colorized view of comet 67P/CG as seen by Rosetta on Feb. 18, 2015

Find the latest information from the Rosetta mission here.

Source: ESA

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on February 23, 2015, in Comets and Asteroids and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Riding the Fine Line and commented:
    Swwwwwweeet

    Like

  2. Awesome image and video.
    Still “bravo” to ESA !!
    Jeff Barani from Vence (France)

    Like

  1. Pingback: Rosetta Shadows Its Comet… Yes, Literally | Lights in the Dark

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