Hubble Captures Comet ISON

Hubble Captures Comet ISON

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2013-14
Release Date: Apr 23, 2013
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) was photographed on April 10, when the comet was slightly closer than Jupiter's orbit at a distance of 386 million miles from the Sun (394 million miles from Earth).

Even at that great distance the comet is already active as sunlight warms the surface and causes frozen volatiles to sublimate. A detailed analysis of the dust coma surrounding the solid, icy nucleus reveals a strong jet blasting dust particles off the sunward-facing side of the comet's nucleus.

This image was taken in visible light with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The blue false color was added to bring out details in the comet's structure.


Tags
Comets, Observations, Solar System

Credits

NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team