The European Space Agency, ESA, has provided detailed pictures through which we better understand the notion of a comet and how does a surface of a comet look like. Specifically, ESA Rosetta probe surprised what happened on the surface of the comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimen comet) with its OSIRIS camera. One passionate astronomer released the results via a GIF.
The Twitter user @landru79 used the images captured by Rosetta and created a GIF that shows what’s happening on the surface of the comet.
Rosetta probe analyzed the Comet 67P which has been in the focus of the astronomers for two years as the space probe rotated around it before deliberately crashed on the comet’s surface in September 2016.
The surface of the comet seems to resemble a snowstorm
— landru79 (@landru79) April 23, 2018
What we see is the dusty and icy atmosphere of the Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimen comet), while it was illuminated by the Sun.
Mark McCaughrean, the senior advisor ESA’s science and exploration, explained that in the GIF there are several stars visible, too. As it was examining the comet, the OSIRIS camera of Rosetta was aimed towards Canis Major and, fortunately, captured several star groups, such as NGC 2362 (at the top) and NGC 2354 (in the middle).
The movement of the probe and the rotation of the comet, corroborating with apparent movement of the stars in the background and the dust and ice particles rotation around the camera, gives the impression that Rosetta hs captured a snowstorm.
Rosetta’s last photo was taken only 5 feet above the comet’s surface
Rosetta was the third important mission for the ESA. The probe’s images taken with its OSIRIS camera represented the most reliable proof that the water on the Earth was not brought here by comets. The last image Rosetta sent back home before it crashed, deliberately, was captured only 5 feet above the surface of the Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimen comet).