Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick
mckitterick

Astro-Porn of the Day: Spacecraft Visits Comet Hartley2

Wow, you know how I use the term "amazing" when making these Astro-Porn of the Day posts? Well... WOW! Here's some more amazingness! This photo of Comet Hartley 2 was taken by NASA's EPOXI spacecraft at a distance of only 435 miles. Notice the outgassing and just all-around coolness and dramaticosity of this shot:


Click the image to see the EPOXI news page.

And if that's not dramatic enough for you, how about a little time-accelerated Quicktime movie showing the hour of closest approach:

Video by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD/Brown University.


NASA sez: "This animation of the flyby is made of 40 photos taken from the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Instrument during the encounter. The first image was taken at about 37 minutes before the time of closest approach at a distance of about 27,350 kilometers (17,000 miles). The last image was taken 30 minutes after closest approach at a distance of 22,200 kilometers (13,800 miles). The spacecraft was able to image nearly 50 percent of the comet's illuminated surface in detail."

What you're seeing right here is a series of photographs taken by a spacecraft we sent to a FREAKING COMET! Does it get much cooler than that? Well, actually, I'm fairly certain we'll see something within months that makes me think that again, and of course a few months later we'll have more, and so on and so on.

Rock'n'roll.

Chris
Tags: age of wonders, astronomy, the space age
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