Home > Comet, Ephemeris Program, ESA, Space exploration > 01/20/2014 – Ephemeris – Wake up Rosetta!

01/20/2014 – Ephemeris – Wake up Rosetta!

January 20, 2014

Ephemeris for Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20th.  The sun will rise at 8:12.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 5:34.   The moon, 4 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:22 this evening.

Wake up Rosetta!  That’s the message The that the European Space Agency or ESA wants sent to the Rosetta spacecraft to wake it up after 33 months of hibernation when it was too far from the sun for its solar panels to provide adequate power.  The wake up call is ESA’s way of gaining the public’s attention for the events later this year when the spacecraft will rendezvous with a comet.  Actually the probe will have to wake itself up.  It set three alarm clocks, er… timers to wake it up today, find the sun and charge its batteries and phone home.  The comet is 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  After orbiting the comet’s nucleus the main spacecraft will release a probe called Philae to land, or actually grapple it.  [the two and a half mile [4 km] diameter nucleus, which is known to be of an odd non-round shape.]

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.



Artist’s rendering of Rosetta orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and sending the Philae lander to the comet’s surface. Credit: ESA


12 years of orbital maneuvers of Rosetta to match orbits with the comet. Credit ESA.

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