Each photo can then be combined to create a ‘true colour’ image. The latest image is blurred because the comet moved between exposures.
A summary accompanying the image says: ‘will discuss the colour variegation observed on the comet surface and its relationship to surface morphology and cometary activity’.
According to Business Insider, this suggests the image is a colour composite made to emphasis various features on the comet’s surface, rather than being ‘true colour’.
In September, the Alice instrument on Rosetta mapped the comet’s surface, recording the first far-ultraviolet light spectra of the comet’s surface.
From the data, the Alice team said the comet is unusually dark – darker than charcoal-black – when viewed in ultraviolet wavelengths.
‘We’re a bit surprised at just how unreflective the comet’s surface is and how little evidence of exposed water-ice it shows,’ said Alan Stern, Alice principal investigator at the time.
This finding contradicts this latest picture of comet 67P, and Esa has yet to confirm whether this is a ‘true colour’ image.
For several months, there has also been controversy over why colour images, and other data, from Rosetta’s comet have been kept behind closed doors.
‘The scientists who develop the instruments that are put on Rosetta have the right to use the data for their own purposes for six months – we have difficulties to even get pictures from them,’ Paulo Ferri, Rosetta mission director told MailOnline.
‘After six months, they will be open to the science community. But they are very, very cautious.’
Mr Ferri says, ‘there must be something big’ in the image which has caused the secrecy up until now. He believe data from Rosetta could help explain how the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.