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67P Revealed

After many long months of waiting we finally, FINALLY have our first really close-up images of the surface of Comet 67P to drool over and enjoy. A few days ago a special issue of the prestigious journal “Science” was published, crammed full of scientific papers based on results from the ROSETTA mission, and many were illustrated with images taken by the probe’s high resolution OSIRIS cameras.

My opinion of the OSIRIS science team’s reluctance/refusal to publish pictures their amazing images of the nucleus of Comet 67P is well known, and despite the criticism and flack I get for it I will never change that opinion. And I’ll come back to it soon, I’m sure. But to criticise them about that again at this time would be churlish and petty, because this must be the highlight of their scientific careers, and they deserve all the praise and congratulations they can get, because the images in the Science special are truly stunning. So, everyone, feast your eyes on these, and revel in our first really close up views of a comet. It’s been a long time coming, and we suffered and endured centuries of superstition, fear and ignorance to get to this point, but we can finally imagine we’re standing on the surface of a comet and see its landscapes and features with our own eyes/. What an incredible thing!


This image shows “ripples” on the surface (which other people had pointed out on the navcam images) and dust “tails” behind rocks on the surface – proof that ‘wind’, of a sort, blows across the surface of the comet…

Active_pit s

That image shows an “active pit” on the comet – see the dust jets coming out of the hole in the middle?


Now that’s a fascinating image – it appears to show some kind of fluid or viscous material has flowed out of that hole and spread across the surface…!

And I love this view of the comet taken by OSIRIS from a distance of just 8km…


Of course, when I saw that I knew it could be turned into more of a landscape view…

Comet_from_8_km SA

But look at this… this is the image that everyone has been looking forward to seeing – the “goosebumps” on the inside walls of one of the pits in the comet’s surface…


They stand out a little more clearly with a bit of processing and enhancement…

8sierks c

And an even closer look shows this…

8sierks d

Absolutely fascinting! There’s a lot of speculation that that image shows the basic building blocks of comets – tiny roundish dust- and iceballs which collected together to form the comet billions of years ago. Images like this will be dissected very carefully by cometary scientists in the months and years ahead.

So, there you go, we finally have some OSIRIS images, and they are every bit as spectacular as we imagined they would be. Huge congratulations to the OSIRIS team for their fantastic achievement. 🙂

One Response

  1. […] noch nicht. Weitere Zusammenfassungen der Papers auch in Artikeln hier (früher), hier (früher), hier (früher), hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, […]

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