Since coming into orbit of the comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko last September, the European Mission Rosetta constantly monitors the activity of the comet as it approaches the Sun.
In this recent observation, Rosetta retired from a comet at a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles), and the camera of the NAVCAM spacecraft captured the comet in all its glory, highlighting the gas jets erupting from the 67P cervical region called Hapi.
Scientists have increased the contrast of this image, so that the details of the jets were visible. The original image is shown below:
Comets consist of an ice core, a coma (dusty “atmosphere” surrounding the core) and a tail (more precisely, two tails, one of which consists of charged particles following the sun’s magnetic field, and the second of neutral particles and dust thrown out pressure of the solar wind). As the comet approaches the Sun, the heat from the star increases the sublimation of the ice, forming impressive jets of steam.
Understanding the dynamics of the activity of a comet is of great importance, since thanks to it we can get an idea of the composition of the comet and the amount of material thrown into space.