Featured Image: A Comet’s Coma


This series of images (click for the full view!) features the nucleus of comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko. The images were taken with the Wide Angle Camera of Rosetta’s OSIRIS instrument as Rosetta orbited comet 67P. Each column represents a different narrow-band filter that allows us to examine the emission of a specific fragment species, and the images progress in time from January 2015 (top) to June 2015 (bottom). In a recent study, Dennis Bodewits (University of Maryland) and collaborators used these images to analyze the comet’s inner coma, the cloud of gas and dust produced around the nucleus as ices sublime. OSIRIS’s images allowed the team to explore how the 67P’s inner coma changed over time as the comet approached the Sun — marking the first time we’ve been able to study such an environment at this level of detail. To read more about what Bodewits and collaborators learned, you can check out their paper below!


D. Bodewits et al 2016 AJ 152 130. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/152/5/130

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: history of a comet's coma