Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 10, 2014

Half in the dark
Half in the dark

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

This fascinating picture of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was obtained on October 30, 2014, by the OSIRIS Scientific Imaging System located onboard the ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft. The right (Dx) half of the frame is (almost) in complete darkness, whille the left (Sx) one is brightly illuminated by the Sun. Traces of what could (most likely) be Water Ice, are well visible on the flat portion of the rocks forming this magnificent (and still truly mysterious) Celestial Body


The image was taken from a distance of approximately 18,6 miles (such as about 29,933 Km) from the Comet's Nucleus.


This frame (which is an Original ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19040) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.


Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.



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