Release 547 of 1,091

Hubble Captures Outburst from Comet Targeted By Deep Impact

Release date: Jun 27, 2005 10:00 AM (EDT)

In a dress rehearsal for the rendezvous between NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft and comet 9P/Tempel 1, the Hubble Space Telescope captured dramatic images of a new jet of dust and gas streaming from the icy comet. The images are a reminder that Tempel 1's icy nucleus, roughly half the size of Manhattan, is dynamic and volatile. Astronomers hope the eruption of dust seen in these observations is a preview of the fireworks that may come July 4, when a probe from the Deep Impact spacecraft slams into the comet, possibly blasting off material and giving rise to a similar plume of dust and gas.