How did Rosetta’s comet get its ‘rubber duck’ shape?

092815-rosetta rubber duck comet
My, what a busy day it’s been for space!

What gave Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko its distinctive, double-lobed ‘rubber duck’ shape? According to Rosetta scientists, that unique shape was caused when two ancient comets collided.

Using images taken between August 6, 2014 and March 17, 2015, the scientists can now definitively say that the shape arose from a low-speed collision between two fully fledged, separately formed comets.

“It is clear from the images that both lobes have an outer envelope of material organized in distinct layers, and we think these extend for several hundred meters below the surface,” said Matteo Massironi, lead author from the University of Padova, Italy, and an associate scientist of the OSIRIS team. “You can imagine the layering a bit like an onion, except in this case we are considering two separate onions of differing size that have grown independently before fusing together.”

Read on to find out more – How did Rosetta’s comet get its ‘rubber duck’ shape?

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