Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 12, 2014

The Surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
The Surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA and Elisabetta Bonora and Marco Faccin/Alive Universe Images for the additional process. and color.

The ESA - Rosetta Philae Spacecraft continues to approach, circle, and map the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Crossing the Inner Solar System for ten years to reach the vicinity of the Comet last month (August, 2014), the Robotic Spacecraft continues to image the unusual Double-Lobed Comet's Nucleus. The reconstructed-color image featured here, taken about 37 days ago, indicates how dark this Comet's Nucleus is. On the average, the Comet's Surface reflects only about 4% (four percent) of the impinging Visible Light, making it as dark as coal. Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko spans about 4 (four) kilometers in length and has a Surface Gravity that is so low that an Astronaut could jump off of it. In about two months, the ESA - Rosetta Philae Spacecraft is scheduled to release the first Probe ever to attempt a controlled landing on a Comet's Nucleus. A few white and bright Patches made of (probably) Water-Ice as well as areas covered by some dark, reddish Dust, are clearly visible in this beautiful image.

This picture (which is an Original, Non Map Projected and True-Colour image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, published on the NASA - Astronomy Picture of the Day on September, 15, 2014) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Natural Colors (such as the colors that a perfect human human eye - or, even better, a CCD Camera (or an Electronic Eye) would actually perceive if someone were onboard the ESA - Rosetta Philae Spacecraft and then looked ahead, towards the Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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