Home / Science / Stunning GIF shows cosmic blizzard on the surface of Comet 67P

Stunning GIF shows cosmic blizzard on the surface of Comet 67P

A Twitter user created a gif that used raw data from the European Space Agency showing shots from the surface of the comet 67P. This is the first imagery of the surface of a comet. ( European Space Agency ̵

1; ESAC )

The European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta probe may have gone offline in 2016, but allowed the public an unprecedented view of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A Twitter user used the raw data provided by Rosetta to take pictures of the surface of the comet.

The user-created gif can only last for a few seconds, but provides a true view of the surface of a comet.

Comet 67P Footage

The Twitter user used data collected by Rosetta's optical, spectroscopic, and infrared remote imaging system (OSIRIS) to create the gif. Rosetta collected the raw data on June 1, 2016. The Twitter user landru79 created the gif with the still images captured by the probe. Rosetta's pictures of the comet 67P have only been available to the public since March 22.

The scene in the GIF seems like the camera is floating in the middle of a blizzard. In fact, these are dusts of a comet, high-energy particles that hit the camera, and stars of the constellation Canis Major. Even though the probe appears to be sitting on the comet, the images have been removed kilometers from its surface

ESA's scientific adviser, Mark McCaughrean, responded to Landru79's tweet, explaining why it looked like a blizzard. McCaughrean said that in the foreground sunlit dust can be seen. The spacecraft moves through the dust, giving it the illusion that it is crossing a blizzard.

Rosetta started his mission in 2004 and ended in 2016 when it landed on Comet 67P. Rosetta became solar powered. When it followed the comet, it received less sunlight. Scientists decided it would be better to drop the probe into the Comet 67P instead of waiting to see whether it could survive a hibernation.

During his observation of comet 67P, Rosetta was able to document a landslide on the comet. The researchers found that the landslide was the cause of dust and gas flags, which are typically from comets.

Landru79 created a second gif that makes it easier to spot the star millet of Canis Major in the background. It also makes it easier to see how the comet moved when the footage was shot.

The first close-ups of a comet came in 1986, when Halley's comet completed its orbit close to Earth for the last time. These images were also taken by the ESA with their Giotto spacecraft, but at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers.

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