Rosetta Captures Firework As Comet 67P Nears Sun

Posted: Aug 13 2015, 5:13am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 13 2015, 5:15am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Rosetta Captures Firework as Comet 67P Nears Sun
  • Comet Flare Captured on Film by Rosetta

A flare from Comet 67P got captured on film by the Rosetta probe.

A flare erupting from Comet 67P got caught in photographic form. Rosetta’s camera did the job. The comet is heating up as it nears the sun. The probe Rosetta is chasing it as it gets up close and personal with the sun.

The perihelion took place on Thursday. That was when the comet approached the sun at the closest it could during its 6.5 year orbit. The comet’s ice will evaporate and drag dust with it after exposure to the sun.

The ESA has said that comet activity's expected to increase within a week’s time. The Rosetta probe’s maneuvering took a decade to perfect. This is the first probe which made a landing on the comet.

“This is the brightest jet we’ve seen so far,” comments Carsten Güttler, OSIRIS team member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany. “Usually, the jets are quite faint compared to the nucleus and we need to stretch the contrast of the images to make them visible – but this one is brighter than the nucleus.”

The comet contained 16 different organic compounds. This gave rise to the theory that life on earth could have come about by a comet which hit it. The team of observers who are looking at the comet are getting excited about the whole thing. 67P released a bright jet on 29th July. And it was much more brighter than usual.

Comets have bright tails when they appear in the night sky. As the comet releases dust, the probe will find it difficult to approach it for classic images. A comet is a big ball of cosmic duct and matter that has gotten packed together with ice.

It travels in space and makes periodic journeys in elliptical patterns around the sun. There is Haley’s Comet which is viewable in the night sky every fixed number of decades. It is rare for a comet to hit the earth. But there have been instances of comets hitting the earth in the past.

Actually the atmosphere of the earth ensures one thing. That is that whatever space debris hits it gets incinerated. And that is before it enters the level where life thrives on the ground. This is not the case with the moon which does not have an atmosphere.

That is why so many comets have hit the moon. It has a pock-marked surface littered with the scars of craters. Comets are also called shooting stars. They fill the night sky and it is often said that seeing one is a rare event cherished by human beings. The 67P Comet is the only one that has had a landing probe invade its surface.

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