Rosetta spacecraft gets better view of comet’s fuzz

comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

On July 29, Rosetta took this image of the core of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a distance of 1,950 kilometers. The image confirms the comet's odd shape.

OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA/Rosetta/ESA

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has got some fuzz.

New images from the Rosetta spacecraft show that the coma, or hazy shroud, around the comet’s core covers at least 22,500 square kilometers. The images probably only show the inner part of the coma, meaning it may extend much farther into space, mission scientists say. The latest images of the core of the comet also confirm that it is shaped like a rubber duckie.

Rosetta is less than a week away from its scheduled rendezvous with the comet. The spacecraft is slated to pull up and park next to the comet on August 6.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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