As Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko gets closer to the sun, it’s becoming more active. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft – which has been flying in tandem with the comet since August 6 – captured the images to make the above montage on September 26, 2014, when Rosetta was 16 miles (26 kilometers) from the comet. The montage shows jets of dust and gas escaping from the neck of 67P/C-G.
Rosetta spent 10 years on a deep-space chase of this comet, which will reach its perihelion, closest point to the sun, in July 2015.
This November, the Rosetta spacecraft will send a probe down to land on the surface of this active comet!
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.