Comet 67P/C-G in 3D

Peer over cliffs and onto the boulder-strewn ‘neck’ region, marvel at the layers in the exposed cliff face, and ponder the formation of the numerous crater-like depressions in this amazing 3D view of comet 67P/C-G.



The anaglyph image can be viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green/blue filters. The two images used to make the anaglyph are also posted separately below. They were taken on 7 August 2014, from a distance of 104 kilometres through the orange filter of the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera. They are separated by 17 minutes and the exposure time is 138 milliseconds.










  • armchair explorer says:

    According to the caption of the CometWatch NAVCAM image from 7 August, 67P was merely 83 km away. Thus, I think at least one distance must be wrong.

    • emily says:

      The comet-spacecraft distance (taken from a nominal centre of the comet) varies over a single day by a number of kilometres and therefore depends on the time of day the image was captured. There are also small differences between different ephemeris data files depending on when the latest navigation data has been used to update these files.

      • armchair explorer says:

        Oh, that’s interesting. Maybe you can elaborate this further. My assumption was based on the following reasoning: Below is given the NavCam distance information for the first trajectory arc. I think, this fits well the assumption that Rosetta followed a hyperbolic trajectory relative to the comet. Doesn’t the distance (104 km) given for the OSIRIS image represent an unnatural peak in the sequence? Also, it is unlikely that the ephemeris data files have an error of one-fifth of the nominal distance (100 km) from the comet, isn’t it.

        96 km (Wed., 6 Aug.); 83 km (Thu., 7 Aug.); 81 (Fri., 8 Aug.); 99 km (Sat., 9 Aug.); 110 km (Sun., 10 Aug.) (By the way, was the Sunday NavCam image taken after the maneuver?)

      • armchair explorer says:

        Emily, maybe you could post a distance-time graph (or any other quantitative visualization) of the actual trajectory?

    • Andrew R Brown says:

      The distance can very by quite a few KM during a 24 hour period.

  • Clive Hartland says:

    Another Stereo pair, I have printed them off to A4 size in Photoshop.
    This will amaze my work partners when they see it in Stereo.


  • Ingo Althöfer says:

    Wow. The upper end of the neck looks like
    a little Eiger-Nordwand.


  • Hilmar says:

    Looks like i was torn apart, probably by a gravitational field … the curvatures of the parts seem to fit…

  • Alberto Atencio says:

    You can easily make a stereogram with these images.
    And with a larger group of pictures you could make a stereogram video.

    Thank you for sharing project results with the world in this blog.

  • jvh says:

    Beautiful! Could please you post versions of the pictures with a size reference?

    Great stuff! Keep them coming!

    • Andrew R Brown says:

      The nucleus is 3.5 KM by 4 KM. The entire view is less than 3 KM wide, the smaller lobe or ‘head’ approx. 2.5 KM wide barely fits in the frame.

      Using quick mental arithmetic, the resolution of this image is an astonishing 1.25 metres, one of the highest resolution images of another solar system body without actually landing upon it. 😀

  • Phil Stooke says:

    As if today’s images, and this whole week of images, are not amazing enough, we have more than a year of this still to come. Thank you ESA and the whole Rosetta team for one of the great exploration missions of our time.

    • Mark McCaughrean says:

      Thanks very much for those kind words, Phil: they’re greatly appreciated, all the more so given your excellent work on the cartography of planets, moons, and small bodies.

  • José Daniel Cuello says:

    Quisiera saber las dimensiones del cometa – GRACIAS

  • Redgy Devos says:

    To boldly but carefully go where no spacecraft has gone before…Out of this world, steady as she goes…

  • Sean says:

    The ‘neck of the rubber duck’ is being described as a “gorge” by the BBC, but wouldn’t it feel – if one were an explorer on the surface of 67P – much more like the inside of an overhanging climb? I can’t help thinking 67P’s gravity would be causing debris to fall away from the ‘neck’ towards the duck’s back until the upper part of the neck where debris would start to fall ‘upwards’ towards the head.

  • robert says:

    je to úžasné vidieť ju takto zblízka.

    • Brian Deschene says:

      Áno, je to úžasné vidieť, že tak blízko.
      V pláne je na obežnú dráhu na iba 30 km za pár týždňov!

      (Yes it is amazing to see it so close.
      The plan is to orbit at only 30 km in a few weeks!)

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    this is jaw-dropping…


  • raymundo dionicio says:

    This are two pieces.
    Curve longitude says
    they could be
    same origin.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    The core’s core
    is no longer here.

    Maybe too old.
    Maybe too volatile.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    Two big chunks
    and a collection of lesser ones.

    • raymundo dionicio says:

      The lesser chunks
      surrounding the upper big chunk.

      Like byproducts of impacting..

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    We are seeing the smoking gun
    of a cometary collision.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    This could be
    a visit to two comets
    for the price of one 😉

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    The “snow” in the neck
    should be quite interesting.

    Because its a ‘mixing’
    of the multiple layers of the head.

  • Susan P says:

    Amazing photo – also amazing to think about how close we are to sampling this primordial rock

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    The regolith amount
    should be lower in this
    ‘neck’ ‘snow’ accumulation, too.

  • John browne says:

    Where’s the “snowcone”? Please try to document the electromagnetic induced dust tail as it discharges when closer to the sun. It’s way past time you folks understood this is an obviously EM event.

  • Peter says:

    The 3D gives a good indication of how challenging landing is going to be.

    As a sedimentologist I fancy I can see bedding and fractures in the cliff. Need a close up or the cliff.

    • raymundo dionicio says:

      We’ll send
      ‘spiders’ on next mission
      to 67P

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    Down Left:
    Some ‘hard’ layers
    seems to be ‘hollow-ed’.

    (I am using my daughter’s
    red-blue ‘Barbie’ cartoon lenses)


  • raymundo dionicio says:

    landing on the regolith
    could be not such a great idea.

    Some of it could be honeycombed.


  • The passages provide reliable sources to 3D printing of reproduction! Good idea to sell it to the planet on name of Rosetta-ESA and of future missions! The passages provide reliable sources to 3D printing

  • neil says:

    Awesome images. How can there be so much structure with so little gravity to hold it all together? Look at the fine material at the ‘base’ of the cliff near the neck. I hope we can see the comet change and evolve as it starts to outgas and we can understand more about what is shaping it.

    • Boris Starosta says:

      Neil, yours is an excellent observation. Some of us do still fancy a much older theory about the origin of the comets and asteroids: they are remnants from the explosion or breakup of a larger solar system planet, not even very long ago. These images give additional support to the theory, as they appear to show geologic stratification and other structures that can only form under the pressures and gravity of a planetary sized body. Other supporting evidence that has been accumulating over the past several decades: comets have been found to be similar to asteroids in many respects, comets and asteroids are found to have satellites (and debris on the surface that appears to have fallen from orbit), numerous comets and asteroids have been found with double lobed shapes – none of these observations have been predicted or can be explained by the mainstream model. Research the EPH + comets, and then revisit these images with open eyes! When ESA director said Rosetta will “revolutionize” comet science, he was onto more than he realized. Rosetta will revolutionize SOLAR SYSTEM science!

  • Clive Hartland says:

    You have to look at the Comet as an entity on its own, it has gravity and it is hurtling through space at 55000 kph and is collecting space dust but also losing space dust. The age of the Comet gives an indication of the erosion and I think that space dust attracted into the Comets gravity field and impacts the surface and possibly has a curved path induce by the gravity and erodes the surface in the way we see it now. The age of this Comet could be Billions of years old and it is hard to imagine such a length of time. Previous dust catching probes already determine that some of the dust caught is not from one source, supporting my idea.
    As the dust captured on this expedition will never come back to Earth we have to rely on mechanical diagnosis and chromatography to determine origins.
    These are early days and much more is to come.


    • Andrew R Brown says:

      This comet is indeed billions of years old. I assume this is a former Kuiper Belt comet, orbital plane closer to the ecliptic, forming closer to the likes of Pluto and Eris, etc rather than an import from the postulated Oort Cloud.

      Perhaps the Saturn moon Phoebe is a relative too? 😀

      • raymundo dionicio says:

        The layering talks about
        undisturbed orbits while growing.

        Could be that an impact
        rested orbital energy to her;
        falling inwards.
        Big planets rounding his orbit.
        I like your model.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    Mapping gravity thoughtfully
    in the neck area
    could be a good idea.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    A sounding universe.
    Comets being the voyagers
    writing those sounds.

    Maybe some day we could find
    music within.

  • tomduf says:

    Thank you for these right/left images !
    You can play with stereo software to create stereograms, mpo files, 3D images for TV or nintendo 3ds, nVidia cards, or with a single mirror with a freeware program like StereoPhoto Maker :

  • Andrew R Brown says:

    What an astonishing collection of images. I have problems using the 3D glasses as they make me ‘boss eyed’ but am extremely grateful for the images used in the anaglyph being published separately too.

    I agree with Sean that the minute gravity of the ‘body’ and ‘head’ is slowly pulling material away from the ‘neck’ so over geological time periods, the ‘neck’ will thin sufficiently for the ‘head’ and ‘body’ to separate.

    The process is being sped up by outgassing when the comet is closer to the Sun.

    It is difficult to decide if this is two comets joined, but I think the fact the ‘head’ has a flat, striated ‘chin’ seen in these remarkable images, along with the closer high resolution NavCam images recently makes me think this comet is one object that is slowly eroding over immense periods of time.

    Mystery is though, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has only been coming close enough to the Sun at perihelion for sublimation since 1959. Yet the comet looks more weathered than that. Wonder if in the distant past 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko did at one time have closer perihelia, then the orbit expanded before becoming smaller again under influence from Jupiter?


    • raymundo dionicio says:

      My cardboard lenses
      have red filter denser that blue one.
      So I have to close my left eye a little.

      A printable stereoscopic viewer
      to glue to cardboard and atach
      two mirrors.
      We are going to need it for a year.

  • Zylann says:

    I don’t have 3D glasses, so made this animated GIF from the two pictures 🙂

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    sublimation craters
    are surrounded by icy perimeters
    made of chimneys.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    67P is light not just because is porous.
    67P is light because is hollow.
    67P is light because is literally ducted.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    ‘snow’ ‘corks’ on
    the neck?

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    A duct just below
    the ‘snowy’ neck
    leaving enormous pile
    of debris just at the entrance.

    Like if a marmot burrow entrance.

    The wind force in places
    like this could easily fly away
    any lander.

  • Ripu Simiyu says:

    Anyone tried opening both images as a Left, Right side by side image in a stereo photo viewer rendering to a frame sequential stereoscopic HDTV with 3D glasses?

    Bound to be amazingly awesome!!!

  • TIM says:

    It definitely looks like it was once a single object, that was broken in 2 (perhaps from tidal forces or from being struck by another object. It would be interesting to see if the 2 major parts are sliding against one another, with the cavernous gap in the middle being essentially a world encircling fault line. As it gets closer to the sun, the comma might then be coming from this “fault” area. the release of gas and other debris being driven as much by tidal forces as by the solar wind!!! Very interesting.

  • lunogram says:

    My attempt of making a video that demonstrates comet rotation based on these photos:

  • Logan says:

    In order for the former comet to keep his orbital energy while growing the dust and snow has to be traveling in the same orbit. So they should be formed within the solar gas disk. In some way gravity is needed to form a layered planetoid.

  • Leo Vuyk says:

    Comet P67 linear surface depressions suggest expansion.
    Dumbbell shaped Comets producing Hydroxyl and water ice by the internal dual Dark Matter Knots or micro black holes according to Q-FFF Theory.
    Quantum FFF theory assumes that micro dark matter black holes are the ZPE energy sources producing Hydrocyl (OH) and water ice nuclei of Comets, direct out of the Higgs field vacuum by “pair production” with a minimal annihilation effect into protons and electrons. TWO energy sources seem to be able to coexist and form exotic dumbbell comet nuclei with linear ice depressions as evedence for the expanding but also evaporating ice nucleus.

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