Special thanks go to Bernhard Haeusler for the great animation of comet Hartley 2 shown at the left. The animation was released yesterday morning.
The comet is currently leaving the constellation of Pegasus and will approach Casseopeia at the end of September. By the beginning of the second week of October, Hartley 2 will be between Cassiopeia and Perseus, and very near M76 (the Little Dumbbell Nebula).
Meanwhile, the EPOXI spacecraft is gearing up for the flyby of comet 103 P / Hartley 2. With the closest approach scheduled for 4 November 2010, the spacecraft is beginning its encounter phase.
Key observations will include:
Hartley 2 will make its closest approach to Earth this coming 20 October 2010 and its closest approach to the Sun eight days later on 28 October. It should approach magnitude 5 and be visible to the naked eye in dark regions away from cities.
For additional information on Hartley 2, see our previous post.
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