Somehow we missed this image of Comet Hartley in Nov of 2010. Now that the probe that was Deep Impact (known as Epoxy in the extended mission) has passed away, I thought it a good excuse to show this amazing shot which has far more detail than the two we published here previously.
What NASA thinks we might be looking at here is an asteroid that was recently shattered by another asteroid, giving it a comet-like appearance. It stays within the asteroid belt, so it cannot be a comet as those objects are known to be dusty ice-balls that stay in highly elliptical orbits around the Sun.
This is so nice, but I am furious that I didn’t get to design this. This is Information design at it’s best naturally by National Geographic. You can see 50 years of robotic planetary exploration at a glance. It even includes failed missions represented by darker desaturated lines. As far as I can tell the cream colored lines are US and the red ones are Soviet. Interesting to see how many of those lines go dark around Mars.
Now where does one purchase such a thing? Perhaps this month’s issue of NG? Here is the link to it on their site complete with zoom viewer and them some kind samaritan posted a hires version to flickr.
Barely 15 years after Comet Shoemaker-Levy slammed into Jupiter, another large object hit Jupiter this month when nobody was looking. This image was taken 4 days after the event and displays an Earth-sized scar in the upper atmosphere of the planet. The object that did the slamming is estimated to have been about the size of several football fields. This should be a fairly rare event, although twice in 15 years is literally a blip on a celestial time scale.
Must have missed this earlier image of Holmes. In the interest of seeing the comet better, the background stars were reduced with software and the surrounding space around it was darkened. You can see the original image here taken by Ivan Eder.
Here is Comet Holmes just a week after the previous post. The original image had multiples of star trails which have been quickly removed in Photoshop, probably resulting in some subtle “clumping” artifacts in the surrounding coma. For reference, here is the orignal by Chris Schur.