Image: Comet Hartley 2 approaches Earth

Sep 30, 2010
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke, NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office

A pale green interloper among the stars of Cassiopeia, Comet Hartley 2 shines in this four-minute exposure taken on the night of Sept. 28, 2010, by NASA astronomer Bill Cooke.

Still too faint to be seen with the unaided eye, the was 18 million miles away from Earth at the time. Cooke took this image using a telescope located near Mayhill, N.M., which he controlled via the Internet from his home computer in Huntsville, Ala.

Comet-watching from the comfort of your living room? Modern astronomy is truly amazing...

Comet 103P/Hartley 2, a small periodic comet, was discovered in 1986 by Malcolm Hartley, an Australian astronomer. It orbits the sun about every 6.5 years, and on Oct. 20, the comet will make its closest approach to since its discovery.

In this case, "close" means 11 million miles, or 17.7 million kilometers. A moonless sky will make for promising viewing conditions in the northeastern skies, especially just before dawn.

Explore further: Obama salutes 45th anniversary of US astronauts' Moon landing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New Comet Discovered from Mauna Kea

Dec 05, 2005

While searching for "killer asteroids" on Halloween night, University of Hawaii astronomer Fabrizio Bernardi found a new comet, the first discovered from Mauna Kea Observatories.

Meteor shower is possible next week

May 17, 2006

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 will be visible this week and next through telescopes or on the Internet and might produce a meteor shower Monday night.

The great cometary show

Jan 19, 2007

Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, is no more visible for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. It does put an impressive show in the South, however, and observers in Chile, in particular at the Paranal ...

NASA's EPOXI mission sets up for comet flyby

Sep 30, 2010

Earlier yesterday, navigators and mission controllers for NASA's EPOXI mission watched their computer screens as 23.6 million kilometers (14.7 million miles) away, their spacecraft successfully performed its ...

Recommended for you

Heat testing the miniature Aausat 4 satellite

5 hours ago

The miniature Aausat satellite undergoes repeated temperature variations in a vacuum chamber, cooling the CubeSat to –10°C and heating it to +45°C for more than two weeks. This harsh baptism will make ...

New meteor shower "just a memory" of what once was there

5 hours ago

The weak display of last month's Camelopardalids meteor shower, the result of the close passage of comet 209P/LINEAR, may have disappointed backyard observers, but this never-before-seen shower now has scientists ...

New launch date set for ISS delivery vessel

22 hours ago

A robot ship will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a five-day delay on July 29 to deliver provisions to the International Space Station, space transport firm Arianespace said Tuesday.

User comments : 0