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IRON AND ICE
Rosetta's Comet: Imaging the Coma
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 06, 2014


This Rosetta OSIRIS image of the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on July 25, 2014. It covers an area about 90 miles (150 kilometers) across. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Less than a week before Rosetta's rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, images obtained by OSIRIS, the spacecraft's onboard scientific imaging system, show clear signs of a coma surrounding the comet's nucleus.

A new image from July 25, 2014, clearly reveals an extended coma shrouding 67P's nucleus.

"Our coma images cover an area of 150 by 150 square kilometers (90 by 90 square miles)," said Luisa Lara from the Institute of Astrophysics in Andalusia, Spain. Most likely these images show only the inner part of the coma, where particle densities are highest. Scientist expect that 67P's full coma actually reaches much farther.

In the current image, the hazy, bright, circular structure to the right of the comet's nucleus is an artifact of the OSIRIS optical system. The center of the image located around the position of the nucleus is overexposed here.

Other new images of the comet's nucleus confirm the collar-like appearance of the neck region, which appears brighter than most parts of the comet's body and head. Possible explanations range from differences in material or grain size to topological effects.

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Related Links
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Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology






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Paris (AFP) Aug 03, 2014
After a decade-long quest spanning six billion kilometres (3.75 billion miles), a European probe will come face to face Wednesday with a comet, one of the Solar System's enigmatic wanderers. The moment will mark a key phase of the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the European Space Agency (ESA) - a 1.3 billion euro ($1.76 billion) bid to get to know these timeless space rovers. ... read more


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