Hubble Captures Disintigrating Comet

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacSA, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    #1
    Pictures: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2006/18/image/

    Hubble Space Telescope is providing astronomers with extraordinary views of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. The fragile comet is rapidly disintegrating as it approaches the Sun. Hubble images have uncovered many more fragments than have been reported by ground-based observers. These observations provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the demise of a comet nucleus. The comet is currently a chain of over three dozen separate fragments, named alphabetically, stretching across the sky by several times the angular diameter of the Moon. Hubble caught two of the fragments (B and G) shortly after large outbursts in activity. Hubble shows several dozen "mini-comets” trailing behind each main fragment, probably associated with the ejection of house-sized chunks of surface material. Deep-freeze relics of the early solar system, cometary nuclei are porous and fragile mixes of dust and ices that can break apart due to the thermal, gravitational, and dynamical stresses of approaching the Sun. Whether any of the many fragments survive the trip around the Sun remains to be seen in the weeks ahead.


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    More Info: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/24mar_73p.htm
     
  2. UKnjb macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #2
    Those Hubble pictures, including this one, have been so totally fabulous through the years. Awesome stuff. Thanks for posting this one. :)
     
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Fabulous, Hubble by the way just turned 16. We need another scope like this one.
     
  4. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #4
    Then you'll be looking forward to Webb...
     
  5. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Webb is infared, i like Optical scopes like Hubble thank you.
     
  6. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

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