Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 12, 2014

Only 19 miles away from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Only 19 miles away from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

Today's APOD is an image-mosaic made out of 4 (four) individual NavCam images taken by the ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft from about 19 miles (such as approx. 30,577 Km) from the center (---> Nucleus) of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November, 20, 2014. The image-mosaic Resolution is about 10 feet (such as approx. 3,048 meters) per picture element - pixel.

This frame (which is an Original ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18899) 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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