News Release Archive:

News Release 469 of 1051

April 27, 2006 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2006-18

Hubble Provides Spectacular Detail of a Comet's Breakup


Video: Annotated Sequential Hubble Images of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, Fragment B

Running Time: 3 seconds

Annotated sequence of three Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys images of the disintegration of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3's fragment B. This fragment continues to break into smaller chunks, which are pushed down its tail. The smaller chunks have the lowest mass and so are accelerated away from the parent nucleus faster than the larger chunks. Some chunks seem to dissipate completely over the course of several days.

Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Selected still images from this video (click to enlarge):

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