|Discovered by||Klim Ivanovich Churyumov and
Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenko
|Alternative names||1982 VIII; 1982f;
1989 VI; 1988i;
1969 R1; 1969 IV;
1969h; 1975 P1;
1976 VII; 1975i
|Epoch 2010-Jun-13 (JD 2455360.5)|
|Semi-major axis||3.4648 AU|
|Orbital period||6.45 yr|
|Dimensions||4 km in diameter|
Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko, officially designated 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, is a comet with a current orbital period of 6.45 years. It will next come to perihelion on 13 August 2015. It is the destination of the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft mission, launched on March 2, 2004.
The comet was discovered by Klim Ivanovich Churyumov, who examined a photograph that had been exposed for periodic comet 32P/Comas Solá by Svetlana Gerasimenko on September 11, 1969 at the Alma-Ata Astrophysical Institute. Churyumov found a cometary object near the edge of the plate, but assumed that this was Comas Solá.
After returning to his home institute in Kiev, Churyumov examined all the photographic plates more closely. About a month after the photograph was taken (October 22), he discovered that the object could not be Comas Solá, because it was about 1.8 degrees off the expected position. Further scrutiny produced a faint image of Comas Solá at its expected position on the plate, thus proving that the other object was a newly discovered comet.
As preparation for the Rosetta mission, Hubble Space Telescope pictures taken on March 12, 2003, were closely analyzed. An overall 3-D model was constructed and computer generated images created.
Orbital history 
Comets are regularly nudged from one orbit to another when they encounter Jupiter or Saturn in close proximity. Before 1959 Churyumov–Gerasimenko had perihelion distance of about 2.7 AU. In February 1959 a close encounter with Jupiter moved the comet's perihelion inward to about 1.3 AU, where it remains today.
- "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 2010-06-29 last observation. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Seiichi Yoshida (December 30, 2010). "67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko". aerith.net. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Krolikowska, Malgorzata (2003). "67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko – potential target for the Rosetta mission". Acta Astronomica 53: 195–209. arXiv:astro-ph/0309130. Bibcode:2003AcA....53..195K.
- "JPL Close-Approach Data: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko". 2010-06-29 last obs. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Kazuo Kinoshita (2009-05-07). "67P past, present and future orbital elements". Comet Orbit. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
- 67P on Kronk's Cometography
- 67P/Churymuov-Gerasimenko at ESA/Hubble
- Color image of 67P/Churymuov-Gerasimenko
- Detailed description of 67P with light curves and pictures
- The Dust Trail of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko between 2004 and 2006
- 67P at ESA website
- Mission to Land on a Comet
|Periodic comets (by number)|