This image shows the orbit of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in aqua. The positions of the comet and planets are shown for February 26, 2004, the planned launch date for the Rosetta mission.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.
Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko was discovered in 1969. It is named after
the two scientists who found it, Klim Churyumov and Svetlana
The comet goes around the Sun once
every 6.57 years. The orbit of the comet is not a circle. Its orbit is shaped
more like an oval, which is called an ellipse. Sometimes the orbit of the comet
brings it closer to the Sun than the planet Mars.
At other times the comet is far from the Sun. It goes a little bit further
from the Sun than the planet Jupiter does.
space mission will visit this comet in 2014. The spacecraft includes a lander that will touch down on the surface of the comet's nucleus. Scientists think
the nucleus of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is about 3 km wide by 5 km long
(about 2 miles by 3 miles).
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