In the approach to perihelion over the past few weeks, Rosetta has been witnessing growing activity from Comet 67P/Churyumov - Gerasimenko, with one dramatic outburst event proving so powerful that it even pushed away the incoming solar wind.
The comet reaches perihelion on Thursday, the moment in its 6.5-year orbit when it is closest to the Sun. In recent months, the increasing solar energy has been warming the comet's frozen ices, turning them to gas, which pours out into space, dragging dust along with it.
The period around perihelion is scientifically very important, as the intensity of the sunlight increases and parts of the comet previously cast in years of darkness are flooded with sunlight.
Although the comet's general activity is expected to peak in the weeks following perihelion, much as the hottest days of summer usually come after the longest days, sudden and unpredictable outbursts can occur at any time - as already seen earlier in the mission.
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