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Rendezvous with a crazy world

Posted by Daniel Fischer on 2014/08/06 01:27 CDT | 2 comments

Beaming scientists all around, spectacular images on large TV screens, and the best - or at least most exciting - yet to come: such was the extraordinary scene at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, today as the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reached its cometary destination.

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"We're at the comet!" Rosetta has arrived at comet 67P

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/06 04:58 CDT | 9 comments

After a journey of more than a decade, Rosetta has finally arrived at comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Confirmation of the successful rocket firing came at about 9:30 UTC via a webcast from ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

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Today's the day Rosetta arrives at a comet!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/05 11:15 CDT | 2 comments

In less than a day, Rosetta will officially arrive, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit a comet! Watch an ESA Livestream of the arrival, and check out the latest photos.

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A new angle on Churyumov-Gerasimenko brings circular features into focus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/04 10:23 CDT | 4 comments

It's just two days now until Rosetta arrives in its initial 100-kilometer "orbit" of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the latest view from Rosetta's NavCam is fascinating. Circular features on the comet remind me of Tempel 1 as seen by Deep Impact and Stardust.

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[UPDATED] New Rosetta images show comet's craggy shape

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/02 09:44 CDT | 1 comments

A shift in position has brought shadows into view from Rosetta, outlining scarps and ridges on Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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New Rosetta view of the comet - and a comparison to other comets

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/31 03:02 CDT | 8 comments

Rosetta's view of the comet is getting better and better. Today they released a new image from the high-resolution OSIRIS camera, and it's a very fresh one, taken only two days ago. Distinct features are coming into view. And it's finally detailed enough for me to compare it to the five other comets we've visited in the past.

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Rosetta update: Long journey to a comet nearly complete

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/29 01:40 CDT | 4 comments

A journey of nearly a decade is almost over. Rosetta is making its final approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the comet's strange shape is beginning to come into focus. As of today, the spacecraft is only 2000 kilometers away from the comet, and 8 days away from arrival.

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A right old comet kerfuffle…

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2014/07/18 12:02 CDT | 16 comments

A European space enthusiast, children's author, and volunteer astronomy outreach worker asks for more images from Rosetta.

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Quick Rosetta update: Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a contact binary!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/15 08:42 CDT | 17 comments

I could not wait to post these amazing new images of comet Churymov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta. The nucleus of the comet is clearly a contact binary -- two smaller (and unequally sized object) in close contact.

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Rosetta completes another rocket burn, spies decreasing activity on comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/19 10:42 CDT

Rosetta has now completed its three largest rendezvous burns as it approaches ever closer to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Beginning on July 2, Rosetta will now conduct weekly burns, through August 6. Meanwhile, the cometary activity of April and May has quieted again, leaving the comet looking smaller than it did before.

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Deep Impact's last images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/05/27 07:13 CDT

Today I received an email notification of new public releases of some image data sets. I always love seeing new public space image data, but this notification was bittersweet: it included the first public release of the very last image data returned to Earth by Deep Impact, of a distant comet ISON.

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One Night Only, a New Meteor Shower that May Be Spectacular?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/22 04:36 CDT | 3 comments

A new meteor shower, the Camelopardalids, will be peaking Friday night/Saturday morning (May 23/24). Especially if you are in North America, you are well positioned to see what may (or may not) be a spectacular show. In either case, scientists will learn about a comet’s history, and you can have a fun night looking at the sky.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/18 06:42 CDT

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Opposition time for Mars, and several months of dancing with the stars

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/04/08 08:47 CDT | 1 comments

The Mars Express team showcases some of the best viewing opportunities of Mars in 2014, including how to spot Comet Siding Spring when it flies past Mars this October.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Cosmic bully spotted by ESA and NASA

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/31 05:46 CDT

Hubble has taken some great new images of our 'friend,' Comet Siding Spring, due to pass by Mars at less than 136,000 km on October 19 – less than half the distance between Earth and our moon.

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Comet spotted! Rosetta's first sight of Churymov-Gerasimenko since wakeup

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/27 09:58 CDT | 2 comments

Rosetta has turned on its cameras and sighted its comet for the first time since waking from hibernation. Next activity: waking the Philae lander.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Ya gotta have a little ‘tude

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/24 03:44 CDT

In the latest update on how the Mars Express flight control team is planning to deal with Comet Siding Spring is all about attitude -- and hiding behind the biggest guy in the fight.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: How to determine the orbit of a comet?

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/12 02:02 CDT | 2 comments

In the quest to track Comet Siding Spring, the Mars Express team tells us how computing the orbit of a comet isn't as straightforward as science fiction would have us believe.

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The Very Large Telescope sights Rosetta's comet target, sees activity beginning

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/10 02:18 CDT

Rosetta's comet target, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has emerged from behind the Sun as seen from Earth, and the Very Large Telescope has photographed it. The new images show that cometary activity has already begun as Rosetta approaches for its August rendezvous.

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Hypervelocity Cratering and Riding Out the Risk

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/06 07:34 CST

Today's update from the Mars Express team contains the realisation that, for some of the risks associated with October's Siding Spring flyby, there may not be much the team can do.

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