Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2024 January 6
Explanation: You couldn't really be caught in this blizzard while standing by a cliff on periodic comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Orbiting the comet in June of 2016, the Rosetta spacecraft's narrow angle camera did record streaks of dust and ice particles similar to snow as they drifted across the field of view close to the camera and above the comet's surface. Still, some of the bright specks in the scene are likely due to a rain of energetic charged particles or cosmic rays hitting the camera, and the dense background of stars in the direction of the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major). In the video, the background stars are easy to spot trailing from top to bottom. The stunning movie was constructed from 33 consecutive images taken over 25 minutes while Rosetta cruised some 13 kilometers from the comet's nucleus. In September 2016, the nucleus became the final resting place for the Rosetta spacecraft after its mission was ended with a successful controlled impact on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Ryan Smallcomb Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.