Amateur finds moon orbiting comet in Rosetta archive


Readers!
 
For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. They practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.
 
Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.

 

Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

 

You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

In mining the Rosetta archive of images of Comet 67P/C-G, an amateur astronomer has discovered a twelve-foot-diameter chunk of material that had broken from the comet and was in orbit around it.

Modelling of the Rosetta images indicates that this object spent the first 12 hours after its ejection in an orbital path around 67P/C-G at a distance of between 2.4 and 3.9 km from the comet’s centre. Afterwards, the chunk crossed a portion of the coma, which appears very bright in the images, making it difficult to follow its path precisely; however, later observations on the opposite side of the coma confirm a detection consistent with the orbit of the chunk, providing an indication of its motion around the comet until 23 October 2015.

While it is not really unusual for their to be small objects in the coma of the the comet, orbiting it, this is apparently the largest so far found. That they missed it initially is also not surprising, considering the amount of data they were gathering in such a short time.

Share

2 comments

  • MDN

    Parachutes are really hard. This documentary about the Mars Exploration Rover mission recounts how they suffered a catastrophic failure in their first parachute test, and then encountered even more problems when studying fixes in a NASA wind tunnel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpX1ST39yO0

    The test failure bit starts at 22:45, and the wind tunnel fix testing at 33:00.

    The wind tunnel they are using is the 80 X 120 at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View California. This is a wind tunnel with a test chamber that is 80 feet tall X 120 feet wide that can simulate up to about 180MHP, where they have tested things like real twin engine/70 passenger turboprop aircraft with the engines running for stability in high crosswind landing conditions (the kind of stuff you don’t want to really test in flight).

    Facilities like these are national assets that deserve a lot more recognition then they get because they just aren’t that sexy in the grand scheme of things. But for problems like this you just can’t figure it out with computer modeling and such, because parachutes live in the realm of turbulent flow, and computer codes simply suck at that, even on our most modern and largest super computers. But we’re lucky, because the Greatest Generation built this tool and many others like it, proved the value of empirical engineering with programs like Apollo, the SR-71, and countless others, and left us the tools to keep solving these problems.

  • MDN: I think you posted this comment in the wrong thread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *