Saturday, June 21, 2014

lumpy observations

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has started snapping pictures and taking data of its target, comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, even though still hundreds of thousands of kilometres away. And already it is surprising. The comet seemed to be, for a time, shedding dust and getting brighter. The image from late April show a fuzzy streamer.

And now it's not doing anything. Camera shy? It just goes to show. Comets are very difficult to predict. They wax and wane, tumble and turn, they do what they want. But then again, they are non-spherical and lumpy. Expect the unexpected. The ESA craft with an early August rendezvous will have a front row seat.

Check out the full article from 19 June.

Creds: Image from the ESA web site. ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA.

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