Unveiling the comma of the 67P comet from the hand of OSIRIS

Comets cometary, something like the 'atmospheres' of comets, have complex structures that can be studied by observing them with telescopes.

In a recent study published in the magazine Astronomy, an international scientific team, led by the Max-Planck- Institut für Sonnensystemforschung (MPS, Max Planck Institute for Research on the Solar System), with the participation of the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA) and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA), has analyzed the morphology of Comet 67P coma / Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its possible dependence on the activity of the nucleus. For this purpose, they have used images obtained with one of the OSIRIS (Optical Sprectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System) cameras on board the Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA). Specifically, the NAC camera (Narrow Angle Camera, or narrow field camera) has been used, whose high resolution has allowed to observe with clarity both the sources and the formation of structures in the form of a jet.

The study shows that insolation on the irregular nucleus of the comet modifies the morphology of the comet. coma, causing the appearance of gas-and-dust-like jet-shaped structures. These jets are produced during the local maximums of insolation and collimated by the topographic concavities present. Due to the irregular shape of Comet 67P, these structures can vary according to the observer's perspective, they can also be activated or deactivated depending on the insolation and can even remain hidden in the shadow areas of the nucleus itself, further complicating its study. / div>


Figure: comma of dust in the neck region of 67P at the same local time but observed from different perspectives.


 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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