How the “Snowstorm” on the Rosetta Comet was Created
A Twitter user under the ID: @landru79 created the image. He did so by using still images that were acquired from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft. These show Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, better known as Rosetta. The $1.6 billion probe followed and observed for twelve years and at an astounding 356 million miles away from the Sun.
— landru79 (@landru79) April 23, 2018
In the GIF, which only lasts a few seconds, we see a monochrome view of the comet’s surface. The camera shifts slightly, which allows the craggy cliff to its left to really feel three-dimensional. Everything looks white, while specks of white fly around in the air, giving the appearance of a snowy day.
Mark McCaughrean, a senior adviser for the European Space Agency, shared the tweet with his followers as well.
Pretty wild 😵 Lovely stack of images from the latest #Rosetta OSIRIS image release. My guess is that this is dust quite close to the spacecraft as it moves by, giving the illusion that it’s “snow” falling on Comet #67P kilometres away in the background. Cool though 👍 https://t.co/SYGBKecKEP
— Mark McCaughrean (@markmccaughrean) April 23, 2018
He also managed to identify the stars in the background as belonging to the constellation Canis Major.
Viewers will be mistaken if they think that that really is snow on the Rosetta Comet, but other than that, this gives a good impression of what it would be like to visit and stand in a place none of us are likely to ever go.