Rosetta’s comet is spouting jets

Wow! The Rosetta spacecraft is now seeing jets from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as the comet draws in closer to the sun.

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View larger. | The Rosetta spacecraft captured this four-image montage of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. on September 26. Image via ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

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