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- Neil Armstrong was honored by NASA with the renaming of a historical Kennedy Space Center building
- Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone by Ian McDonald
- The thrusters of the old space probe ISEE-3 have been reactivated
- The van Allen probes show how electrons are accelerated in the magnetosphere
- R.I.P. Hank Hartsfield
Tag Archives: Comets
ESA’s Rosetta space probe awakened in January 2014 after a journey that lasted almost ten years. In recent weeks, it started sending pictures of its target, the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Yesterday, CNES, the French space agency, published a composition of photos taken on July 11 which show that the comet is composed of two nuclei that are attached, a fact that makes the Rosetta mission even more extraordinary.
The NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) Space Telescope discovered his first comet after starting its new mission last year. On February 14, 2014, during one of its scans of space in search of objects that can cross the Earth’s orbit, it found a comet, which has been designated C/2014 C3 (NEOWISE). Astronomers quickly realized that it’s a weird comet because its orbit is retrograde.
Yesterday it was almost evening in Europe when ESA received the first signal from the spacecraft Rosetta. It confirmed that it regularly awakened after spending about two and a half years in hibernation. The testing phase started to ensure that all of its instruments are functioning properly. Rosetta is now en route to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
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.