How Does Rosetta’s Comet Compare with Alpine Mountains?


Image credit: M. Pössel/HdA using an image from ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM. Released under CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

There have been some cool visualizations showing the size of the nucleus of the target comet of ESA’s Rosetta mission – where the Philae lander will attempt to land on November 12. One shows the nucleus on the ground in Los Angeles, another has it looming as a dark mountain over Manhattan, and yet another has its silhouette superimposed onto the City of London.

On a hiking holiday in the Swiss Alps this summer, it struck me that an Alpine setting — or its equivalent in other countries – looking at kilometer-sized objects at distances up to a dozen or dozens of kilometers is probably the situation where we can best develop an intuition about just how large the nucleus of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is.

Today, I took the time to insert the nucleus in one of my holiday snaps, using one of the Rosetta Navcam images that ESA has just released under a Creative Commons license. My original image was taken from a hiking trail between the Swiss villages of Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp, looking South-East towards Italy. The first image, above, has —> Read More Here


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