(CN) – The European Space Agency released images Friday of a bright burst of light from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, apparently caused by a landslide.
The images were captured on Feb. 19 by the agency’s Rosetta space probe, which recorded the landslide that occurred on the comet the probe is orbiting. The dramatic light flashes were accompanied by rising temperatures and sharp increases in gas, dust and plasma released from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Eberhard Gruen of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, said Thursday a landslide on the comet’s surface was the source of the reaction and accompanying images.
The flashes were likely generated by light reflecting from dust particles kicked up by the landslide.
The European Space Agency plans to crash-land Rosetta on the comet Sept. 30, over two years after it began orbiting the comet.
Data collected from Rosetta — and its lander, Philae, have helped scientists’ learn more about comets.
The photo is courtesy of the European Space Agency.
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