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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Remember Comet Siding Spring? Mars Orbiter Mission got photos, too

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

19-11-2014 13:57 CST

Topics: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), pretty pictures, comets, astronomy by planetary missions, comet Siding Spring

Back when I wrote my summary of all the Mars missions' observations of comet Siding Spring, there was one mission that had not yet announced whether or not they'd successfully gathered data: ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission. Amidst the hoopla over the Philae landing last week, they finally released not one but five images of the comet collected by their Mars Colour Camera:

Mars Orbiter Mission observes comet Siding Spring


Mars Orbiter Mission observes comet Siding Spring
Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera took a sequence of images of Comet Siding Spring as it passed close to Mars. The five images were taken October 19, 2014 between 17:44 and 18:25 UT, at distances ranging from 180,000 to 130,000 kilometers. The final image was taken at close to the same moment as the comet's closest approach (18:27 UT).

I'm not exactly sure what, if anything, to take away from these photos. They are not of very high quality, but part of the problem seems to be a severe amount of JPEG compression applied to them before posting -- I assume the original data look somewhat better. The original image (posted on Twitter November 12) included caption information describing the top center image as showing a comet jet, but I'm quite dubious of that interpretation -- it looks like stray light to me, an imaging artifact. I post them here mostly in order to complete the set of Mars mission observations of comet Siding Spring! I look forward to future science meetings where scientists will present and discuss all the Mars spacecraft work on the comet.

See other posts from November 2014


Or read more blog entries about: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), pretty pictures, comets, astronomy by planetary missions, comet Siding Spring


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