CometWatch – 14 September

Four-image NAVCAM montage comprising images taken on 14 September from a distance of 30 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (reminder: the distance is given to the centre of the comet). This is how the comet looked to Rosetta's...


Rosetta landing site announced soon

Watch live as the site for Rosetta's lander is announced at ESA Headquarters. Streaming starts now at: (also available here: Can't wait to find out where Philae is going to land!


MIRO bathes in water vapour

Rosetta’s MIRO instrument has detected an increase in the rate of water vapour coming from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko over the past three months. This was reported by the MIRO team at the European Planetary Science Congress last week....

Philae's instruments. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Science with the lander – what to expect when Philae me...

When Rosetta’s Philae lander touches down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in two months time, a new chapter will begin for the mission. At the European Planetary Science Congress this week, participants heard from the lander team about the...

Positions along the Rosetta flight path of 27 dust grains (red dots) detected by GIADA in August 2014. Five grains (yellow dots) were detected by both the Grain Detection System and the Impact Sensor.
Image credit:  ESA/Rosetta/GIADA/Univ Parthenope NA/INAF-OAC/IAA/INAF-IAPS

GIADA tracks the dust

Following the trail of a minuscule dust particle through the depths of space may seem far-fetched, but that is effectively what the GIADA team have been doing recently, as they described at the European Planetary Science Congress...

Four image mosaic of comet 67P/C-G, using images taken on 10 September. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

CometWatch – 10 September

Four-image NAVCAM mosaic comprising images taken on 10 September from a distance of 27.8 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (reminder: the distance is given to the centre of the comet). The image scale is approximately 2.5 metres per...

ROSINA's reflectron time of flight mass spectrometer (RTOF).

ROSINA tastes the comet’s gases

Rosetta’s ROSINA instrument, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis, has detected its first cometary volatile molecules. The results were presented at the European Planetary Science Congress, EPSC, held in Portugal this week. The detections were...


Rosetta and Philae snap selfie at comet

Using the CIVA imaging system on board Rosetta’s lander Philae, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. CIVA, the Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser, is one of ten instruments onboard Philae. The CIVA-P part of...

Rosetta GMP orbits Credit: ESA

Down, down we go to 29 km – or lower?

On Wednesday, 10 September, 09:00 UTC (11:00 CEST) the spacecraft will perform a 19-cm/s manoeuvre (thruster burn) to insert the spacecraft onto the 30-km circular orbit.

Temperature measurements of the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko generated from data recorded by the VIRTIS instrument. The maps, on an orthographic projection of the comet’s surface centered on the 0° meridian (left) and the 180° meridian (right), show the temperature for local time between 12h and 14h. The data were obtained in July and August 2014 when the comet was between 3.6AU and 3.45AU from the Sun, and the spacecraft was closing in from 14000km to less than 100 km from the comet nucleus. The locations of the five candidate landing sites for the Philae lander are indicated.

VIRTIS maps comet ‘hot spots’

The VIRTIS team have produced maps of the surface temperature of comet 67P/C-G showing how the temperature varies across regions and with local time. Some examples of these were shown today during the Rosetta special session at...


CometWatch – 7 September

Four-image NAVCAM montage comprising images taken on 7 September from a distance of 51 km from comet 67P/C-G. Regular followers of this blog are familiar with how NAVCAM image sequences are now being taken, but you can...

Several morphologically different regions are indicated in this view, which is oriented with the comet’s ‘body’ in the foreground and the ‘head’ in the background.

A preliminary map of Rosetta’s comet

Scientists working on images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have divided the comet’s surface into a number of different regions based on their morphology, revealing a unique, multifaceted world. The map and new high-resolution images from the OSIRIS instrument...

The COSIMA instrument on Rosetta imaged cometary dust grains on 24 August 2014 when the spacecraft was at a distance of less than 100 km from the comet nucleus and more than 500 million km from the Sun. These are among the first dust grains collected from beyond the Solar System’s snow line, the distance from the Sun at which ice grains can form. 

Left: an image of the target plate (measuring 1cm by 1 cm) on which the grains were collected; right: a section of the plate showing the state on 17 August (top) when no dust grains were visible and 24 August (bottom) when some large dust grains were detected. The plate is illuminated from the right by LEDs and the length of the shadows is proportional to the height of the dust grains. The resolution of the image is 14 microns per pixel.


COSIMA catches cosmic dust

While many of us spend time trying to eliminate dust, Rosetta’s COSIMA team have a different attitude – they are actively attempting to catch it.  Today we heard that they succeeded and have the picture to prove...

VLT Tracks Rosetta's Comet

Observing comet 67P/C-G with the Very Large Telescope

Guest post by Colin Snodgrass from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. Colin coordinates a consortium of professional astronomers observing comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Earth. Since rendezvousing with Comet 67P/C-G in early August, Rosetta has...