Rosetta’s path and the encounter with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Here is a video animation I have  made of the Rosetta spacecraft on it way to  comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko . It shows the path of Rosetta (in yellow) since its launch in 2004 until it approaches and meets the comet (orbit in blue). The animation was made using the Starry Night astronomy program.

The same  video with shorter length , less effects and a slightly better resolution can be viewed at this link.

The coordinates of comet 67P  were not prebuilt in my version of Starry Night , so I had to program the orbital elements of Churyumov–Gerasimenko myself. After researching I used the following  elements :

Eccentricity (e): 0.640980 ;  pericenter or perihelion distance (q): 1.243230 AU ;

Node : 50.1423 °  ;  argument of pericenter ( w ) : 12.7854°  ;

Inclination (i): 7.0402°  ; pericenter time (Tp) : 2457247.5683  ;

Epoch : 2456967.5  ;  Magnitude : 11 ;

 North pole right ascension: 69.00°  ;  North pole declination: 64° ;

Rotation rate : 2 rotations/day  .

Here is also a slideshow of the position and orbit of Rosetta at different dates . In the last three images the position of the Dawn spacecraft is shown as well. Dawn entered the orbit of the Vesta asteroid (or protoplanet)  in July 20 , 2011 , and completed  its fourteen month survey mission of Vesta in late 2012. Dawn is getting nearer to the dwarf planet (or large asteroid) Ceres and will arrive there in early 2015. The images were created and prepared with the Redshift astronomy software.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last but not least , here is a an image I’ve prepared ( with Starry Night and Photoshop ) showing the path and orbit of the Rosetta spacecraft from its launch in 2004 to the end of 2014 , including the orbit of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko ,  with annotations recounting briefly the important steps of the Rosetta mission.

 Rosetta path and mission.

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