Skip to comments.Comet Break-Up Pictured By Hubble
Posted on 04/28/2006 6:06:26 PM PDT by blam
Comet break-up pictured by Hubble
The image shows the break-up of one fragment into smaller pieces
The break-up of a comet has been shown in extraordinary detail by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The images reveal the comet has crumbled into over three dozen fragments; many more than had been shown from ground-based observations.
Astronomers say the Hubble images will provide an unprecedented opportunity to study a comet's demise.
The disintegrating comet will pass Earth on 6 May at a distance of 11.7 million km (7.3 million miles).
Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, discovered in 1930 by German astronomers, orbits the Sun every 5.4 years. Its break-up was first spotted in 1995 when observers noticed the comet had split into four chunks.
The latest pictures have shown that the larger fragments of the comet are breaking into smaller pieces which are seen accelerating away from the parent nucleus. Some of these smaller chunks are then dissipating completely over the course of several days.
Astronomers believe the comet's collapse is speeding, and it is not yet known if it will survive its next swing around the Sun.
Is that the comet that's supposed to kill us on May 25?
So, Karl's earthquake machine works even long distance on the comets. Great!
Can the Overlord, the Nechromongers and the Farinean be far behind?
Depends on who you ask... But thats an amazing picture!
"Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do"
Wow. It's disintigrating after coming within 7.3 million miles of Earth? I didn't know that "global warming" could reach that far.
At this rate there might be nothing left in a month but the smile.
||Beautiful shot Is this visible through a telescope or binoculars?|
It will be an easy binocular object and maybe even a naked eye object. Unless, it totally vaporizes. Poof!
I think the two best of my lifetime would be Kohoutek (sp?) and Hale Bopp.
When Hale Bopp passed through we stood in the parking lot at work every night and could see it even through the glare of the streetlights.
Although this object will be in our sky, we don't have much night sky left. Maybe a little deep twilight between midnight and 2 AM, and that is fading fast. Astronomy here is over the Internet until late August.
||When? You're in Alaska, I'm in SE Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.|
Nearest approach is in about a month if newtonian mechanics holds in the meantime. This will be true in Phiadelphia as well as Alaska.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.