Monday, March 9, 2020

Comet Animation - Real Photos

comet European Space Agency

comet European Space Agency

Comet Animation - Real Photos.

What does a random comet look like in outer space? Suppose you were flying along and saw on your radar screen that a chunk of rock was heading your way. What would it look like? Would it be round, or square, or what?

Well, you don't have to guess, We know what a comet would look like because we've seen one. Or rather, a spacecraft has seen one. And, it took enough photos to give a very realistic impression of what such a comet would look like through your spacecraft window.

Imagine you are in a spacecraft, and you are approaching a comet far out in the middle of nowhere.

This is what it would look like.

While this takes the actual spacecraft several days because its closing speed was very low, it would look no different if you were just flying up to it in, say, an hour or two.

It's just a big hunk of rock, out in the darkness, lit by the far-off sun. If the sun were not so close, you would see nothing, just inky blackness - until it slammed into you.

This is hot off the presses, with the last photograph posted today, the day this is being posted. That is how fast things happen now in cyberspace. Some spacecraft out in space takes some photos (here, only the last few), downloads the photographs, and we are able to view them the same day - almost in real-time. Only the guys in mission control see them that fast.

The rock and the spacecraft are still in virtually the same position as shown in the closest photograph as I type this. That is where the spacecraft is, in real-time.

This animation comprises 101 images acquired by the Navigation Camera onboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft as it approached comet 67P/C-G in August 2014.

The first image was taken on 1 August at 11:07 UTC (12:07 CEST), at a distance of 832 km. The last image was taken 6 August at 06:07 UTC (08:07 CEST) at a distance of 110 km.


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