Two Comets in One

Two Comets in One
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The Rosetta spacecraft captured this image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) when it intercepted the comet in August 2014.

On September 28, 2015, Rosetta scientists announced that 67P/C-G is actually two comets that collided at low speed, which would explain its distinctive double-lobed shape. They made this discovery using high-resolution images to study the layers of material surrounding the comet’s nucleus.

Launched in 2004, Rosetta completed a 10-year journey to the outer solar system where it intercepted 67P/C-G. The spacecraft will stay in orbit around the comet until the end of 2015, studying it closely and mapping its surface.

Rosetta is an international mission led by the European Space Agency with support from NASA.