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Message Subject Rosetta Comet Orbiter -** 120 Icy Patches ** Philae Phones Home ** Ceres Fly Over Video ** New Coma Discovery ** Picture MOTHER LODE !
Poster Handle K Hall
Post Content
How come I see stars?

Here is the NAVCAM image from the 16th

[link to www.esa.int]

You will notice that in most of the NAVCAM images you can see stars. So how come you can see stars here but not in the Apollo pictures from the surface of the Moon? Cameras, both film and digital have a dynamic range. That is the spread of light intensity from dim to bright that they can represent in one image. The OSIRIS NAC can currently show both 67P and some background stars. At the moment 67P is rather dim. It is 3.5 times further from the Sun than the Earth is. To give you an idea of the relative sizes of the Sun as seen from Earth and 67P look at this, the Sun as seen from 67P will be closest to Jupiter in this image.

[link to www.foundalis.com]

67P is also dark. The amount of light it reflects from it's surface ( it's albedo ) is around 4%. For the moon this figure is 12%, so three times brighter. In the NAVCAM image, 67P's coma is too dark and faint to see, but if OSIRIS image data is adjusted to show the coma then the comet nucleus itself becomes totally overexposed.

[link to www.esa.int]

You can see the same effect in this video of the Moon occulting Saturn. As the astronomer adjusts his camera to show the detail on Saturn, the Moon becomes completely overexposed. Conversely, when detail of the Moon's surface is shown, Saturn would be too dim to see.

[link to www.youtube.com (secure)]

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