Look at that baby spin. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko covers only 4 pixels in this movie but you can see a shape emerging even at this level of resolution. The ‘era of the blip’ is over!
The movie’s composited from 36 still images taken on June 27-28 from a distance of 53,438 miles (86,000 km) and shows the comet nucleus spinning at the rate of once every 12.4 hours. Yesterday the Rosetta spacecraft pulled to within 26,718 miles (43,000 km) of 67P; by Sunday it will be as far from the comet as you and I are from the geostationary belt of Earth-orbiting satellites – a mere 22,370 miles.
Comet 67P/C-G appears rather fuzzy in the movie and seems to cover a larger area just two by two pixels. This is due to the physical effects of the way light is spread inside the imaging system and is not associated with the comet displaying a coma. The effect will disappear in the next two weeks when the images swell to 20 by 20 pixels and larger.
Go, Rosetta, go!