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Space & Astronomy

Rosetta records comet fireworks display

By T.K. Randall
August 12, 2015 · Comment icon 8 comments

Rosetta photographed this outburst of gas and dust from the comet. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta
The Rosetta spacecraft has captured the moment a dramatic jet of dust and gas erupted from comet 67P.
The comet, which has been a topic of great interest since Rosetta arrived there last year, is now reaching its perihelion - the closest point to the sun in its 6.5-year orbit around it.

In addition to providing the probe with a wealth of new information, the comet's proximity to the sun has already yielded some spectacular images courtesy of its surface heating up and changing.
Ice that had previously remained hidden in the shadows has warmed up and turned in to gas, a process that has resulted in impressive jets of gas and dust blasting off in to space.

One such event took place on Thursday with the probe returning three images of what scientists have described as "an outburst so powerful that it even pushed away the incoming solar wind".

Source: | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by quasar_kid 9 years ago
Very nice capture.
Comment icon #2 Posted by BeastieRunner 9 years ago
Nice timing.
Comment icon #3 Posted by lilnat89 9 years ago
wow how amazing
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
That happens to me every time I have burritos. But seriously, that's pretty cool, especially since they were not sure for a while if the lander would ever send video again at one point.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
especially since they were not sure for a while if the lander would ever send video again at one point. Two points: Firstly this isn't video, it's a series of still images. Secondly the Philae lander didn't take them, the Rosetta orbiter did.
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin 9 years ago
Great pics!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Rosetta's Day in the Sun 13 August 2015 ESA’s Rosetta today witnessed Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun. The exact moment of perihelion occurred at 02:03 GMT this morning when the comet came within 186 million km of the Sun. In the year that has passed since Rosetta arrived, the comet has travelled some 750 million kilometres along its orbit towards the Sun, the increasing solar radiation heating up the nucleus and causing its frozen ices to escape as gas and stream out into space at an ever greater rate. These gases, and the dust particles that they d... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Rosetta's moment in the SunComet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has now passed perihelion (its closest distance to the Sun) and is now spending several weeks at peak activity. This activity is unpredictable so 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.This video covers how ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, is monitoring the comet’s activity, how quickly the Rosetta spacecraft can respond, and the orbiter’s plans to spiral down towards the surface of the... [More]

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