In 2014 the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe went into orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and spent a couple of years studying it. Jacint Roger Perez combined a series of 33 images made during a 25 minute period as the probe flew about 13 kilometers from the comet and the resulting time lapse creates the dramatic scene below:
Although it looks like a blizzard, the white dots and streaks are a mix of stars in the dark background plus dust and ice particles, as well as radiation going through the imager. The comet’s surface at the time was stirred up from the heat of the sun.
More about the animation and the Rossetta mission:
- APOD: 2018 April 26 – The Snows of Churyumov Gerasimenkov
- A short new movie of a comet’s surface is pretty incredible | Ars Technica