Today’s CometWatch entry shows a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on 23 June, when Rosetta was 197 km from the comet centre. This single frame NAVCAM image has a resolution of 16.8 m/pixel and it measures 17.2 km across.


NAVCAM image of Comet 67P/C-G taken on 23 June 2015, 197 km from the comet centre. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

In this orientation, the small comet lobe points to the bottom left, and the large lobe to the top right. The comet’s activity, enhanced through image processing in LightRoom, is visible all around the nucleus.

In the foreground, the image shows parts of the Ash region on the large lobe, as well as providing an oblique view on the smooth plains of Imhotep towards the right. Parts of the large lobe, as well as the neck and small lobe, are cast in shadow, and only a small portion of the rough Anuket region is lit. Nevertheless, the full outline of the nucleus can be unmistakably seen as a silhouette against the diffuse glow of the coma.

Today, Rosetta is at around 160 km from the comet and is continuing to fly over the region which is thought to be most optimal to receive a signal from Philae, which is located on the small lobe. However, no further signals from the lander have been received since 24 June and the mission teams are working hard to understand the situation. After careful study of the comet environment, Rosetta will decrease its minimum distance to the comet during next week, up to a closest approach at 155 km.

The original 1024 x 1024 image of today’s CometWatch is provided below: