ESO/C. Snodgrass (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany) & O. Hainaut (ESO)
Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko on February 28, 2014
The Very Large Telescope took this photo of Rosetta's target comet about 8 weeks after the comet passed into solar conjunction. It was 4.9 AU from Earth at the time, and also about 4.4 AU from the Sun, just inside the orbit of Jupiter. The comet was 50% brighter than anticipated, suggesting that cometary activity has started as the comet travelsd closer to the Sun on the inbound leg of its orbit. The comet was moving toward an August 2015 perihelion. The left-hand view is a stack of many exposures aligned on the comet, in which background stars appear as streaks. In the right-hand image, the background stars have been subtracted, revealing the tiny dot of the comet.