Comet-orbiting Rosetta’s navigation camera has taken an image from a distance of 124 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 February 2015, which has some jets of material shooting off the comet’s neck.
The 1024 x 1024 pixel image frame has a resolution of 10.6 m/pixel and measures 10.8 km across and was processed to bring out the details of the comet’s activity by the Eropean Space Agency, which has shared the picture this week.
The photo is the first single frame image that could capture the entire comet nucleus since leaving bound orbits last week.
ESA’s Rosetta mission has taken several close-up images of the comet’s rugged surface showing its 2.5-mile-long nucleus, and the amazing gas and dust jets in their entirety. The above picture was taken Feb. 6 with the Rosetta’s NAVCAM, when the orbiter was about 100 miles from the comet, said ESA.
The camera exposure lasted for six seconds and later scientists at the ESA made some adjustments to the image to bring into focus the jets of material shooting off the comet’s neck become more visible.
In fact, the neck of the comet has been the focus and centre of activity on the icy comet so far, said scientists recently. They said the dust and gas seemed to be shooting out of circular-shaped pits on the surface of the comet.
Otherwise, Rosetta is moving closer to the surface of the comet and it is to have a closest encounter at 3.5 miles from the nucleus.
Its NAVCAM is is taking pictures every two hours during the approach time, said ESA.