Monday, November 8, 2010

Comet 103P/Hartley by EPOXI

As most of you already know, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft (renamed EPOXI) successfully flew 700 kilometers away from comet 103P/Hartley on Thursday November 04, 2010. This comet is the fifth comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft (the other four are: Halley, Tempel 1, Borrelly and Wild 2).

"Early observations of the comet show that, for the first time, we may be able to connect activity to individual features on the nucleus," said EPOXI Principal Investigator Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Below you can find the flyby images released until now.

Montage showing the comet approached by the spacecraft. The sun is to the right.

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD )

Close-up view of comet 103P/Hartley taken by NASA's EPOXI

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD )

Image showing jets and where they originate from the surface of comet

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD )

Below an image montage showing all the five comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft. Comet 103P/Hartley is by far the smallest and has the most activity in relation to its surface area.

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD )

The analysis of the data acquired is underway and more revelations about comet 103P/Hartley are expected.

Congrats to the all the EPOXI team for this spectacular flyby!!

by Ernesto Guido