Comet 67P, oxygen, space, discovery,
A single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

A video clip that showed a snowy mountain scene, but turned out to be a clip made of several images shot by the Rosetta spacecraft was redone and corrected to show only the comet moving through space, keeping the stars in the background stationary.

The video was first published by Twitter user Landru79, reports LiveScience (LS) and the updated clip has now been uploaded to his account as well. While the original images shot by Rosetta that went into the making of the GIF have been in public domain since at least 2016, it did not grab too many eyeballs. After placing a number of images in sequence and creating a short video, people started to take notice.

Resembling a scene that could well be a snowy mountainside, it gets more impressive the longer it is seen. The clip is a combination of 12.5-second exposure shots digitally stitched together, notes ARS Technica. The images were shot by Rosetta at an altitude of about 13km from the comet. The GIF has compressed about 25 minutes of action into a few seconds, making it more dramatic than it actually is. Rosetta was able to get incredibly close to the comet but did not stick the landing, causing its lander and probe to bounce off the surface of the comet. 

In the first clip, the one that went viral, bright dots traveling down from the top of the frame can be seen. These snow-like particles, explains ARS, are stars in the background. They seem to be moving because the comet is moving and the spacecraft orbiting the comet is also in steady motion. The rapid streaks of light that are directly in front of the images are believed to be dust particles moving rapidly, lit up by the Sun. In the mix, there are also a few streaks of cosmic rays visible.

Video corrected for starscape background:

This comet, named 67P, notes the report, was confirmed to be a body that was not formed as a result of a collision, rather, it was found to have been forged in the early fires that built the Solar System, about 4.5 billion years ago.

Landru79 has said that he is working on a color version of the GIF using data that Rosetta beamed back to Earth, reports LS.

Here is another GIF made by Landru79 of the comet: