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Waspie_Dwarf

Surface impressions of Rosetta comet [merged]

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Surface impressions of Rosetta’s comet

Surface structures are becoming visible in new images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by the scientific imaging system OSIRIS onboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft. The resolution of these images is now 330 feet (100 meters) per pixel. One of the most striking features is currently found in the comet’s neck region. This part of 67P seems to be brighter than the rest of the nucleus.

As earlier images had already shown, 67P may consist of two parts: a smaller head connected to a larger body. The connecting region, the neck, is proving to be especially intriguing. “The only thing we know for sure at this point is that this neck region appears brighter compared to the head and body of the nucleus,” says OSIRIS Principal Investigator Holger Sierks from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. This collar-like appearance could be caused by differences in material or grain size, or could be a topographical effect.

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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comet-67pCG-7-24-20141-e1406307056436.jpg

As Rosetta approaches its comet, a bright ‘neck’ and hilly terrain

http://earthsky.org/space/as-the-rosetta-spacecraft-approaches-its-target-comet?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=a9a16a188e-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-a9a16a188e-394012957

Closer images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko are in now, as the Rosetta spacecraft approaches. These three images [above] are separated by two hours. The rotation of the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, is reasonably slow, completing a rotation on it’s axis approximately every 12 hours, 36 minutes.

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I wonder what the chances are that this will split into 2 pieces?

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I wonder what the chances are that this will split into 2 pieces?

not very likely unless it hits a major rock right at the neck.

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not very likely unless it hits a major rock right at the neck.

On the contrary. Comet nuclei splitting into multiple parts are not unusual:

Splitting

The nucleus of some comets may be fragile, a conclusion supported by the observation of comets splitting apart. Splitting comets include 3D/Biela in 1846, Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1992, and 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann from 1995 to 2006. Greek historian Ephorus reported that a comet split apart as far back as the winter of 372-373 BC. Comets are suspected of splitting due to thermal stress, internal gas pressure, or impact.

Comets 42P/Neujmin and 53P/Van Biesbroeck appear to be fragments of a parent comet. Numerical integrations have shown that both comets had a rather close approach to Jupiter in January 1850, and that, before 1850, the two orbits were nearly identical.

Source: Wikipedia

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