A Comet's Tale! | Dr. Sten Odenwald

September 5, 2014 8:10 PM

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A Comet's Tale! | Dr. Sten Odenwald

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (I'll call it Comet 67P) has been minding its own business for billions of years as it quietly looped around the Sun every 6.5 years. Discovered in 1969 by astronomers Klim Ivanovych Churyumov and Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenko, it spins around on its own axis every 12 hours and is about 2 miles across. Even with a mass of 10 billion tons, it is still small compared with the giants of its class, like Hale-Bopp, at 40 miles across!

At a resolution of about 15 feet per pixel, what you are seeing is details about a few hundred yards across speckling the entire potato-shaped surface. But even higher-resolution images are now possible as the Rosette spacecraft settles into an orbit only 19 miles above the comet's surface.

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