Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 27, 2014

Approaching Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Approaching Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Credits: ESA © 2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/ LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

The really bizarrre-looking Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was imaged by the European Space Agency's Rosetta Spacecraft on July 20, 2014, from a distance of approximately 3.400 miles (such as about 5.471,756 Km). These three images were taken two hours apart from one another.

Rosetta is an European Space Agency (or "ESA", for short) Mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. The Rosetta's Philae Lander is provided by an International Consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; the French National Space Agency, Paris and the Italian Space Agency, Rome.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or "JPL", for short), a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta Mission for the NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Rosetta carries 3 (three) NASA Scientific Instruments in its 21-Scientific Instruments' payload.

These frames (which are all Original ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected images published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18418) have 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 NASA - Cassini 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 Dione, 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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