ESA launches website dedicated to sharing newly-snapped Rosetta images

Image of 67P snapped from Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on Dec. 10(Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

The team of scientists responsible for operating the OSIRIS instrument aboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has launched a dedicated website in order to grant the public unprecedented access to images snapped of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P).

Rosetta has completed the perihelion section of its mission. As surface activity recedes, the spacecraft will move ever closer to the comet, providing increasingly detailed views from its narrow- or wide-angle scientific imaging camera, culminating in the probe's eventual descent to the surface of 67P slated for September 2016.

Currently, Rosetta is orbiting around the 100-km (62-mile) mark, returning images around the same quality as when the spacecraft first arrived in orbit around 67P with its Philae payload back in August 2014.

Whilst the new site will provide unprecedented access to the celebrity comet, you shouldn't expect the level of in-depth analysis of images that is commonplace with an ESA press release. Only basic metadata will be provided with each image, including the position of the probe relative to the Sun and 67P, the date, time, and the resolution at which the image was captured.

The OSIRIS team states that images will be released whenever possible, with the frequency of uploads ranging between one image per day to one per week. The latter is likely to be the case when unavoidable variables come into play such as the probe's mission priorities, and the number of images that can be transmitted by the spacecraft at that particular time.

Images uploaded to the website would first undergo preliminary selection by the OSIRIS team prior to being uploaded in JPG format. A batch of images snapped between June 20, 2014 and Sept. 16, 2014 are currently in processing, and set to be released early next week.

Source: ESA

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