The Rosetta Mission lander is safely on a comet. One of Philae's feet appears at the bottom left of this spectacular image of the surface of C67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Still a happy lander, Philae bounced twice before settling and returning images from the surface, traveling a kilometer or so after initially touching at the targeted site Agilkia. A surface panorama suggests that the lander has come to rest tilted and near a shadowing wall, with its solar panels getting less illumination that hoped. Philae's science instruments are working as planned and data is being relayed during communications windows, when the Rosetta spacecraft is above the lander's new horizon.
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) astronomer Mike Brown and Kevin Hand from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have detailed the strongest evidence yet that salty water from the liquid ocean beneath Europa's frozen shell makes its way to the surface. The composition of this ocean may well resemble Earth's salty oceans. This new research suggests that there is a chemical exchange between the ocean and the surface, which makes the ocean a richer chemical environment. This exchange means that energy may be going into the ocean.
Astrophotographer John Chumack was killing time while waiting for Comet ISON (a potentially spectacular comet making its closest approach to the sun in November and December) to rise when he captured this beautiful image of the Orion Nebula, M42 (NGC 1976) along with neighbor, De Mairan's Nebula M43.