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Rosetta captures comet outburst

25 Aug 2016, 13:13 UTC
Rosetta captures comet outburst
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This article is mirrored from the ESA Portal.
Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle camera captured an outburst from the Atum region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s large lobe on 19 February 2016. The images are separated by half an hour each, covering the period 08:40–12:10 GMT, and as such show the comet rotating. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
In unprecedented observations made earlier this year, Rosetta unexpectedly captured a dramatic comet outburst that may have been triggered by a landslide.
Nine of Rosetta’s instruments, including its cameras, dust collectors, and gas and plasma analysers, were monitoring the comet from about 35 km in a coordinated planned sequence when the outburst happened on 19 February.
“Over the last year, Rosetta has shown that although activity can be prolonged, when it comes to outbursts, the timing is highly unpredictable, so catching an event like this was pure luck,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.
“By happy coincidence, we were pointing the majority of instruments at the comet at this time, and having these simultaneous measurements provides us with the most complete set of data on an outburst ever collected.”
The data were sent to Earth only a few days after the outburst, but ...

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