From exoplanets to local comets

Credit: C. Snodgrass (The Open University) and E. Ryan (SETI Institute).

During the last month of Rosetta’s operations at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it was no longer possible to observe the comet with telescopes on Earth because it was too close to the Sun’s position in the sky and therefore not visible in the night-time. Fortunately, NASA’s Kepler space observatory stepped in, taking images of the comet every 30 minutes from 7 to 20 September, providing important context to Rosetta’s in situ measurements.
A world-class exoplanet hunter, Kepler is now in its second mission, called K2, which started on 30 May 2014. While still looking for exoplanets, it is now performing observations along the ecliptic and so observing a wealth of Solar System objects, from large bodies like Neptune and Pluto to smaller ones, like comets. For example, it took images of Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) in October 2014. … (ESA/NASA/Kepler)

Credit: C. Snodgrass (The Open University) and E. Ryan (SETI Institute).

Credit: C. Snodgrass (The Open University) and E. Ryan (SETI Institute).

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