Monday, November 5, 2012

NASA: Comet Breaking Up in Inner-Solar System

NASA Spots Comet Breaking Up in the Inner-Solar System

NASA Spots Comet Breaking Up in the Inner-Solar System
Astronomers following the progress of the Hergenrother comet through the inner-solar system are now reporting that the comet is breaking up. Over the past few weeks the comet has been generating “outbursts” of dusty material, and now the object’s nucleus has split apart.

“Comet Hergenrother is splitting apart,” said Rachel Stevenson, a post-doctoral fellow at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Using the National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s (NOAO) Gemini North Telescope on top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, we have resolved that the nucleus of the comet has separated into at least four distinct pieces resulting in a large increase in dust material in its coma.”

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