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Tag Archives: Comets
In recent months, the comet ISON was the center of attention not only of astronomers, amateur and professional, but also of the general public because it had been mentioned as a possible comet of the century for its great brightness. It was followed and photographed by instruments on the ground and in space, including the good old Hubble Space Telescope, especially yesterday, when it moved close to the Sun. It was the most critical moment and it seemed that ISON was destroyed by the Sun’s gravity but after a few hours at least some fragments came out.
NASA has officially declared the end of the mission of the Deep Impact space probe. On July 4, 2005, an impactor launche by the probe hit the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 in order to analyze its debris but it was also used to study other comets and for the observation of exoplanets. Last month, NASA lost communications with Deep Impact and after a month of failed attempts to establish them again the agency had to declare the end of the mission.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has allowed to establish that the asteroid 3552 Don Quixote is actually a comet. Research on this celestial body belonging to the NEO (near-Earth object) class, one of those whose orbit is close to that of the Earth or crosses it, was coordinated by researchers at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.
NASA has decided to reactivate the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Space Telescope after about two and a half years of inactivity. Its mission will be to find the so-called near-Earth objects (NEOs), asteroids and comets whose orbits cross that of the Earth and are therefore potentially dangerous.
Astronomers have been studying the presence of water in the stratosphere of Jupiter for a long time. Now, thanks to the use of ESA’s Herschel Space Telescope, a team believe they have found evidence that this water was brought by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which crashed into the planet in 1994. Continue reading
Comet ISON is approaching the Sun and astronomers have already guarantee that the show will be amazing. In fact, thanks to its size and an orbit that will bring it very close to the Sun, in November 2013 it could be as bright as the full Moon. On April 10, the Hubble Space Telescope took some amazing new photos of this comet, which is already active despite being just slightly closer to the Sun than Jupiter. Continue reading