Submitting images of 67P to the ESA/PSA archive

On June 14 I was at the Royal Society in London for the first day of a series of meetings about Comet 67P. The Rosetta mission is now entering its final stages with end-of-mission planned for late September when the spacecraft will spiral in to “land” on the nucleus. 67P is now getting quite faint and it is low in the western evening sky from the UK and difficult to image due to the summer twilight. While I was there I met Padma Yanamandra-Fisher who reminded me that ESA have set up their Planetary Science Archive to receive amateur images of the comet. This is the first time that they have done this and a great opportunity for us to share our raw data with the pros. Images such as the one shown here, taken on 2016 March 3 by Tony Angel and Caisey Harlingten can be used by professionals to determine the large-scale development of the comet.

In order to upload data you need to be registered. If you are not already registered you can request access using this page:

There are some fairly simple rules for uploading data. The images must be in FITS format and the files must be named in a particular way. Details of this are in the Observing Guide here:

In this guide the filename format is defined as:


where F = filter, SS = exposure time (in s), NN are the observer’s initials, vx = version of file (v1, v2 etc). Wendy Clark has produced a useful guide describing how iTelescope images can be renamed and uploaded using a particular FTP client. This guide is available  here:


but the renaming is fairly straightforward since all the information needed should be in the FITS header.

Let me know if you submit any images or have any questions.

The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.