ESA

Examples of the fractures detected on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Image ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

While the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko started moving away from the Sun, new studies have been published based on data collected over the past months. An article published in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” describes the exam of the many fractures photographed after the arrival of ESA’s space probe Rosetta. Another article published in the journal “Annales Geophysicae” provides an explanation for the “song” of the comet discovered last year.

Picture of the galaxy NGC 428 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (Photo ESA/Hubble and NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast))

A photograph of the galaxy NGC 428 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows its distorted and warped structure. Together with traces of a significant amount of stars being formed, it’s the sign of the merger between two galaxies. For this reason, its appearance could give us an idea of ​​what will happen in a few billion years to the Milky Way in its merger with Andromeda.

Picture of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko near the perihelion (Photo ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

During the day yesterday the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko passed the perihelion, the point of closest approach to the Sun. ESA’s Rosetta space probe was at a distance of about 327 kilometers (about 203 miles) and with its NAVCAM instrument took a series of pictures to document the comet’s activities. Thanks to the heat it’s been receiving from the Sun the spectacular jets of gas generated by ice sublimation will continue for a few weeks.

Photo of the surface of the area of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko known as Agilkia taken by the Philae lander from a 9 m height (Photo ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR)

A special issue of the journal “Science” describes an early analysis of data collected by the lander Philae in its descent to the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Its mission was short and ESA engineers can’t get a stable contact after those of recent weeks but the data collected were very helpful. Another very interesting study just appeared about the interaction of the comet with the solar wind.

One of the pits in the area called Seth on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Image ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on a series of 18 pits on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They are nearly circular and some of them are a source of activity, emitting jets of gas and dust. They were discovered a long time ago but an analysis of the images collected by ESA’s space probe Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera allowed to establish that probably they were formed following a collapse of the surface.