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A Glorious View of Comet 67P’s Jets

19 Jan 2015, 23:47 UTC
A Glorious View of Comet 67P’s Jets
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Dusty iceballs left over from the birth of the Solar System, comets are most famously known for their tails: long diffuse veils of ejected gas and reflective frozen material streaming out from their nucleus millions of miles away from the Sun. And even though we’ve typically been seeing it as a rugged rubble pile, Rosetta’s […]

OSIRIS image of comet 67P/C-G from November 2014 (MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)
Dusty iceballs left over from the birth of the Solar System, comets are most famously known for their tails: long diffuse veils of ejected gas and reflective frozen material streaming out from their nucleus millions of miles away from the Sun. And even though we’ve typically been seeing it as a rugged rubble pile, Rosetta’s comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is jetting material out into space – as seen in this beautiful contrast-enhanced OSIRIS image acquired on November 22.

The closer comet 67P gets to the Sun, the more active its jets will become as volatile material beneath its surface is warmed and sublimates. Currently over 517 million km away, 67P will reach perihelion on August 13.
“This is still the beginning of the activity compared to what we expect to see in summer this year,” says OSIRIS ...

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