Dust Whirls, Swirls and Twirls at Rosetta’s Comet

Montage of four single-frame images of Comet 67P/C-G taken by Rosetta's Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) at the end of February 2015. The images were taken on 25 February (top left), 26 February (top right) and on two occasions on 27 February (bottom left and right). Exposure times are 2 seconds each and the images have been processed to bring out the details of the comet's many jets. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Montage of four single-frame images of Comet 67P/C-G taken by Rosetta’s Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) at the end of February 2015. The images were taken on 25 February (top left), 26 February (top right) and on two occasions on 27 February (bottom left and right). Exposure times are 2 seconds each and the images have been processed to bring out the details of the comet’s many jets. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Tell me this montage shouldn’t be hanging in the Lourve Museum. Every time I think I’ve seen the “best image” of Rosetta’s comet, another one takes its place. Or in this case four! When you and I look at a comet in our telescopes or binoculars, we’re seeing mostly the coma, the bright, fluffy head of the comet composed of dust and gas ejected by the tiny, completely invisible, icy nucleus.

As we examine this beautiful set of photos, we’re privileged to see the individual fountains of gas and dust that leave the comet to create the coma. Much of the outgassing comes from the narrow neck region between the two lobes. (…)
Read the rest of Dust Whirls, Swirls and Twirls at Rosetta’s Comet (490 words)


© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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