NASA’s EPOXI mission successfully flew by comet Hartley 2 at about 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT) today, and the spacecraft has begun returning images. Hartley 2 is the fifth comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft.
Scientists and mission controllers are currently viewing never-before-seen images of Hartley 2 appearing on their computer terminal screens.
The accompanying picture of Comet Hartley 2 can be seen in glorious detail in this image from NASA’s EPOXI mission. It was taken as the spacecraft flew by around 6:59 a.m. PDT (9:59 a.m. EDT), from a distance of about 700 kilometers (435 miles). The comet’s nucleus, or main body, is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long and .4 kilometers (.25 miles) at the “neck,” or most narrow portion. Jets can be seen streaming out of the nucleus.
The mission’s Medium-Resolution Instrument was used to capture this view.
For more information about EPOXI and to see the stunning pictures of Comet Hartley 2 visit https://www.nasa.gov/epoxi.
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