LESIA - Observatoire de Paris

Rosetta’s comet takes shape

Monday 7 July 2014

ESA’s spacecraft Rosetta eases closer and closer to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and has now reached a distance comparable to the small stretch of space that separates satellites in geo-stationary orbit around Earth. In new images taken by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s onboard scientific imaging system, the comet’s nucleus is beginning to cover several pixels. The resolved images now give scientists a first hunch of its shape.

First images of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by OSIRIS (...)
First images of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by OSIRIS instrument


The first resolved images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko show the nucleus rotating with a rotation period of 12.4 hours. This set of 36 images was obtained by OSIRIS’ narrow angle camera (NAC) on June 27th and June 28th and covers one such period.

The mapping phase of the comet will begin in late July 2014.

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