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.

Rosetta mission selfie at comet 67P/C-G, taken on 7 September. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Rosetta mission selfie at comet 67P/C-G, taken on 7 September. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

CIVA, the Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser, is one of ten instruments onboard Philae. The CIVA-P part of the instrument comprises seven micro-cameras that will take a 360 degree panoramic image of the landing site at visible wavelengths, once Philae is safely on the surface of 67P/C-G, including a section in stereo. CIVA-M is a visible/infrared microscope imager/spectrometer that will the study the composition, texture, and albedo of surface samples.

The latest selfie was taken during Sunday night from a distance of about 50 km from the comet, with one of CIVA-P’s cameras capturing the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of its 14 metre-long solar arrays, with 67P/C-G in the background.

Two images with different exposure times were combined to bring out the faint details in this very high contrast situation.

The image was taken as part of the preparations being made for Philae, as the lander team gear up for the first ever attempt to land on a comet. It was presented at the EPSC conference this week, during a presentation highlighting the status of the lander. Next week, on 15 September, the primary landing site for Philae will be announced.



  • Andrew R Brown says:

    WOW that is just AWESOME. Great to know hat CIVA at least is working well on Philae.

  • logan says:

    Hi Philae Team 🙂

  • logan says:

    Anybody could tell me the angle of 67P polar axis to Sun by now?
    At which date 67P will reach its solstice?
    Thanks 🙂

    • John says:

      If you mean perihelion, 13 August, 2015 - not sure when the sun reaches the highest or lowest point in P67's sky.

  • Dave says:

    Wonderful. Stared at the image for 10 minutes and drank it in. We area spacefaring species.

  • Redgy Devos says:

    Unable to say anything at the moment, my jaw is locked in the OPEN position...

  • logan says:

    Some soul could please tell me what fraction of solar wind is impacting now to 67P with respect to its perihelion?

  • Mark McCaughrean says:

    For those of you interested in some additional technical details, the two images combined to make this "HDR" version were both 10-bit raw images from one of the seven cameras in CIVA-P, with integration times of 128 milliseconds and 1549 milliseconds.

    These were combined using the LR/Enfuse plug-in in Lightroom, with some additional tweaking of the overall balance afterwards.

    Even with the longer integration time, the scene was very dark and, apart from the saturated highlights (which were then filled in by the short exposure), most of the image was down in the lowest few bits. That explains why there's some slight banding in places, particularly in the lens flare around the stem of the solar array.

    Keep in mind, by the way, that you're seeing the backside of the array, not the side with the solar panels themselves.

  • bert hubert says:

    Wow, very impressive! One question (and I'm 100% not a conspiracy nut), but I'm wondering where the light illuminating the solar panels is coming from? The comet is lit from below, and I think the solar panel is too (since it shines very brightly in the lower part), but where is the light from the top coming from? Reflected by Rosetta itself?


    • Allan Bell says:

      I assume reflections off Rosetta

    • Benjamin says:

      What Upper Light ?
      you can see the Arm holding the 14 m of Panel.
      That arm clearly gets a good lighting, that reflects to down to the area not exposed directly.
      I guess you mean the Hinges, that shine . As the Solar Panels are folded like Cards, there is a Slot between them, and there ist were the light can go thru and shine on those Hinges.
      hope that helped.

      • Jose Agustoni says:

        I think that are flat cables with some transparency that shines on when sunlight comes throuth.

    • logan says:

      I remember had read: Philae is 'under the belly' of Rosetta. Very valid question 🙂

  • Gerald L. says:

    The impressive thing is that you can see the relation of the sizes. You can always look towards the alps and double the height of the mountains to get a feeling, but this selfie is simply great!

    What are those dots on the solar panels? Impacts from space debris or just holes from the construction/assemlby?

  • Birgit Hofmann says:

    Absolut genial.
    Science fiction-picture, fantastic !
    Thank you, rosetta-team

  • Bill says:

    What an evocative image. Well done.

    Of course we remember the earlier selfie on 25 Feb 07 when Rosetta/Philae captured the solar panel with Mars in the background during a gravity-assist flyby.


    • logan says:

      The light over the panels shouldn't be that much. Remember that photo exposition was controlled for both subjects.

  • Gianfranco D'Elia says:


  • Philip Jackson says:

    No matter what is going on in the world, you guys inspire! Both the intellect and the aesthetic are merged in wonder. The work you do is so important, so are people support the funding of this kind of work. Thanks to all!

  • Kamal Lodaya says:

    Once in a while Rosetta will be on the night side of the comet (where sunlight is completely blocked out). At such a time, one could look for jets on the night side of the comet. Another idea could be to look in the direction away from the sun and see the night sky. My guess is nothing like a coma or a tail would be seen because their density is so low, but I could be wrong. Is there some non-visual way to see it?

    • logan says:

      It should be visible as glow at some corner. With enough exposition 😉

  • Jeffrey Bue says:

    Great pictures! I can't wait to see images from the surface of the comet. Impressive mission by ESA. Keep up the great work!

  • logan says:

    I like the dipole model.

    If so then the hole in the head possibly is a collapse by ion traveling.

  • logan says:

    Please protect Rosetta from solar storm 🙁

  • Bill says:

    An enhanced version of the"Selfie" made on 7 Sept by the CIVA imager on the Philae lander. The faint details in the background have been emphasized and possibly show faint dust jets emanating from the comet in the lower left direction. The flare from the bright reflections from the
    solar panel shows up as a circular area and streaks to the left.



  • Donald Q says:

    Beautiful images, as always.

  • Théodore Michel says:

    Great pictures, can't wait for more. maybe it'll be us humans taking selfies like that in the future. (crossed fingers...)
    lets hope for a great landing by Philae.

  • idjles says:

    Why is there such a hurry to land Philae? Why not wait until the comet is better understood, or are you racing against time before aphelion, outgassing or solar energy?

  • Daniel Vaz says:

    This photo would be a winner at any selfies contest!
    The photo brings us closer to where all the action is taking place. Suddenly there's more than the object (comet), now we can see also the subject (rosetta). And from there I think of the fascinating things that humankind can do. Thus, this photo brings "warmth" to all of the action taking place up there.

  • Selfie McGee says:

    Very cool picture! Of course, not all of us can be in space for our selfies.

  • jason says:

    very nice. Well i take selfies all the time with my selfie stick but if you can't be in space you might as well use a green screen trick lol

  • mfm says:

    Congrats esa !!! Less politicians and more science!!! Oleeee!

  • Peter K says:

    Very cool selfie. Rather look at this selfe than Kim K!

  • Colm says:

    Has to be the first space selfie ever taken sure? Pretty sweet all the same!

  • Maria says:

    Why is this called a Selfie? Isn't this a normal photograph taken from inside the aircraft?

  • Claudia says:

    Hi Maria,
    This image was taken with CIVA, one of the cameras on the lander Philae, while Philae was still on Rosetta. We call it a "selfie" because it shows both the landscape, including the comet, as well as parts of the spacecraft itself in the foreground.

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