The Region Around the Nucleus of Comet Hyakutake

The Region Around the Nucleus of Comet Hyakutake

Download Options

Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-1996-14
Release Date: Mar 27, 1996
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This image is 2070 miles across (3340 km) and shows that most of the dust is being produced on the sunward-facing hemisphere of the comet. Also at upper left are three small pieces which have broken off the comet and are forming there own tails.

Icy regions on the nucleus are activated as they rotate into sunlight, ejecting large amounts of dust in the jets that are faintly visible in this image. Sunlight striking this dust eventually turns it around and "blows" it into the tailward hemisphere. What might be another jet is emanating from the nightside of the nucleus, but this direction might be misleading due to the angle of the jet relative to our line-of-site.

Comets, Hubble Telescope, Observations, Solar System