Comet Hartley as seen by the EPOXI spacecraft at closest approach. Credit: NASA

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft came within 700 kilometers (435 miles) of Comet Hartley 2 at 10:01 a.m. EDT (1401 GMT) today, imaging with several cameras. Here are the first pictures released of the closest approach.

The scientific team watched along with viewers online and on NASA TV as the images were returned to Earth, about an hour after the spacecraft made its closest approach. First impressions? It is a peanut with jets.

“This is a type of moment that scientists live for,” said JPL’s Don Yeomans, “to get new results in such a dramatic fashion. The images are clear, taken as spacecraft was approaching, then as it swung past and moved away.”

The Sun is off to right, and visible is the icy surface of the comet throwing dust and gas towards the Sun.

(…) Read the rest of First Close Images of Hartley 2: It’s a Peanut with Jets (455 words)

* * *

(C) nancy for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | 3 comments | Add to Post

Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *