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CometWatch from Kepler

7 Oct 2016, 16:35 UTC
CometWatch from Kepler
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During the last month of Rosetta's operations at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it was no longer possible to observe the comet with telescopes on Earth because it was too close to the Sun's position in the sky and therefore not visible in the night-time. Fortunately, NASA's Kepler space observatory stepped in, taking images of the comet every 30 minutes from 7 to 20 September, providing important context to Rosetta's in situ measurements.
A series of 15 images of Comet 67P/C-G taken with the Kepler space observatory between 17 and 18 September 2016. The comet is seen passing through Kepler's field of view from top right to bottom left, as outlined by the diagonal strip. The white dots represent stars and other regions in space studied by Kepler. Credit: C. Snodgrass (The Open University) and E. Ryan (SETI Institute)
A world-class exoplanet hunter, Kepler is now in its second mission, called K2, which started on 30 May 2014. While still looking for exoplanets, it is now performing observations along the ecliptic and so observing a wealth of Solar System objects, from large bodies like Neptune and Pluto to smaller ones, like comets. For example, it took images of Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) ...

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