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News Release Archive:

News Release 753 of 949

March 27, 1996 12:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-14

Hubble Probes Inner Region of Comet Hyakutake

March 27, 1996: The Hubble telescope snapped pictures of comet Hyakutake March 25, 1996, when the comet was just 9.3 million miles from Earth.

Unlike most of the published images of Hyakutake, the Hubble pictures focus on a very small region near the heart of the comet, the icy, solid nucleus. The images provide an exceptionally clear view of the near-nucleus region of comet Hyakutake. The image above is a complete view of the 2,070-mile-wide (3,340-kilometer-wide) comet. This picture shows that most of the dust is being produced on the comet's sunward-facing hemisphere. Also at upper left are three small pieces that have broken off the comet and are forming their own tails.

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Credit: H. Weaver (ARC), HST Comet Hyakutake Observing Team and NASA