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Rosetta Catches New Dust Jet Shooting from Comet

posted: 04/20/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
A new jet of dust appears on the underside of the Comet 67P.
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A new jet of dust appears on the underside of the Comet 67P.
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe had the first-ever glimpse of a new dust jet bursting from a comet. While such dust jets are a relatively common occurrence, a new dust jet hasn't been captured on camera due to its unpredictable timing.

"This was a chance discovery," said Holger Sierks from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. "No one has ever witnessed the wake-up of a dust jet before. It is impossible to plan such an image."

Rosetta's OSIRIS imaging system took the images of Comet 67P in March. In the images, the dust jet bears a resemblance to rays of light beaming into space. Astronomers were surprised to see the jets rising from the comet's shadowed underside; such activity has generally only been documented on the dayside of the comet.

Click here for more information from the ESA's Roestta Blog

Learn more about comets:

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Making a Comet
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