Comet Chaser passes asteroid

Eighteen years to the day since the probe Giotto performed a flyby of the cometGrigg-Skjellerup on its way to comet Halley, another ESA comet probe, Rosetta, has flown past the asteroid Lutetia, on its way to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taking close up images and data as it did so. Those images included this one at the point of closest approach and this one showing Saturn in the field of view of the asteroid (sizes not to scale, Saturn is much further away). Many more images, including zoomed in views of the asteroid, can be seen on this page of the Rosetta blog, which tracks the mission. Images of Lutetia looming from before the flyby are here. BBC news reported before, during and after. A more amusing take on the rather lucid press releases issued by the Rosetta team is here. The Herschel Infrared Space Telescope also took images of Lutetia during the flyby, a campaign of observing to compliment the Rosetta data with data the probe itself couldn’t take during a flying visit. The reception of images from Rosetta was broadcast live by ESA and the video has already been stuck onto youtube by an admirer, from whom I have leeched them:

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