Comet Hartley 2 – Update

Image Credit: Copyright © 2010 by Bernhard Haeusler (Maidbronn, Germany)
The technical details for the animation as given by Bernhard Haeusler are: 20 x 1 min. exposure, 2010-09-02 UT 01:13, 12″ SCT f-5.65 + CCD ST-10XME 12.51 mag (60×60 box), coma: 8′, tail: 1’40” in PA208

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:

  • Spectral maps of gas outbursts as the comet rotates.
  • Infrared maps of the gasses in the inner coma.
  • Search for frozen deposits such as water ice and carbon dioxide on the surface.
  • Determine the size of the nucleus using photographic images.
  • Locate surface features including craters and their distribution and sizes.
  • Map the temperature variations on the surface.

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.

Let us know what you think. What do you want to know about? Post a comment.


One thought on “Comet Hartley 2 – Update

  1. Pingback: Comet Hartley 2 « The National Space Society of Phoenix

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