LESIA - Observatoire de Paris

Rosetta is approaching the comet and reveals an incredible dual-core

Monday 21 July 2014

(mise à jour le 24 July 2014)

Rosetta is increasingly close to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (less than 12000 km distance). The images acquired by the OSIRIS-NAC camera reveal an extremely irregular shape.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko obtained on July 14, 2014 by the OSIRIS instrument at a distance of about 12000 km
Crédits : ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko : interpolated image
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko : interpolated image

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA


A sequence of 36 interpolated images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko each separated by 20 minutes. The images were obtained by OSIRIS on July 14th, 2014 from a distance of approximately 12000 kilometers.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seems to be composed of two parts: the first one about 4 x 3 x 1.5 km and the second one about 2 x 2.5 km.

This "contact binary" configuration could result from a a collision between two small bodies and illustrates the accretion process that led to the formation of planets.

Another hypothesis is that the comet 67P/CG was once a much more round object that has become highly asymmetric by the sublimation of ice.

New data to be acquired as the Rosetta spacecraft approaches the comet will allow a better understanding of this extraordinary target. Those will be completed by lander observations from the surface after November 11.

The global mapping phase will start late July 2014.

Three researchers from LESIA are members of the scientific team of the OSIRIS instrument :

More about Rosetta

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