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Ever wanted to see a comet up close? You're in luck

The photos were shot from a distance of 30km or less.

THE EUROPEAN SPACE Agency (ESA) has released some incredible close-up images of a comet.

The organisation’s Optical, Spectrocopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) took the below images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September and October.

OSIRIS uses a 16-bit camera, meaning one image can comprise a range of more than 65,000 shades of grey – much more than a standard computer or phone monitor can display.

As a result, OSIRIS can see black surfaces darker than coal together with white spots as bright as snow in the same image.

The ESA is hoping to land its Rosetta spacecraft on the comet on Wednesday.

Comet_detail_30_October_2014_a_node_full_image_2 An image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on 30 October 2014 by the OSIRIS from a distance of approximately 30km. Source: European Space Agency

Comet_detail_30_October_2014_b_node_full_image_2 Comet 67P on 30 October. Source: European Space Agency

The_dark_side_of_the_comet_node_full_image_2 Comet 67P pictured on 29 September, from approximately 19km away.

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Órla Ryan

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