Valentine's Day In Space: Rosetta Casts It Shadow On Comet 67P During Close Flyby

Posted: Feb 14 2017, 2:24pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 14 2017, 2:33pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Valentine Day in Space: Rosetta Casts it Shadow on Comet 67P During Close Flyby
Rosetta's shadow can be seen in the lower left. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team

This was also the closest the spacecraft had ever been to the comet at that point in the mission

European Space Agency has released a rare close-up image of the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

The image was taken on Valentine's Day 2015 as Rosetta spacecraft flies above the comet at the distance of just 6 km from the surface. It was the closest view of the comet at that point in the mission.

During the February 14 flyby, Rosetta also momentarily came right between the comet and Sun. In this position surface structures cast no shadows, allowing spacecraft to get a detailed look at the comet’s landscape. However, one drawback of this position is that Rosetta’s own shadow is visible on the surface. The shadow looks like a rectangular dark smudge somewhat larger than Rosetta itself.

The image covers an area about 228 meters wide and it is the last in a sequence of 12 taken in the Imhotep region of Comet 67P. Imhotep is one of the most geologically diverse regions observed by Rosetta. It is located close to the comet’s equator on the larger of its two lobes and is relatively flat compared to the rest of comet’s prominent features.

Rosetta’s 12-year historic mission to investigate Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is now over. After covering millions of miles and sending back wealth of images, Rosetta crashed into the surface of its own comet in September 2016.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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