Rosetta has caught a first glimpse of its destination comet since waking up from deep-space hibernation. These two ‘first light’ images were taken on 20 and 21 March by the OSIRIS wide-angle camera and narrow-angle camera, as part of the six-week instrument commissioning period.
Rosetta is currently around 5 million kilometres from the comet, and at this distance it is still too far away to resolve – its light is seen in less than a pixel and required a series of 60–300 second exposures taken with the wide-angle and narrow-angle camera. The data then travelled 37 minutes through space to reach Earth, with the download taking about an hour per image.
The colour composite (below) shows a background of hydrogen gas and dust clouds in the constellation Ophiuchus. The white box indicates the position of the close-up taken with the narrow-angle camera (above) with the comet appearing towards the top of this box, close to the bright globular star cluster M107.
Read the full story just published on the ESA portal, here!