See Closest Ever Image of Comet NEOWISE Captured by Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope captured the closest image ever taken of a recent visitor to the solar system, Comet NEOWISE. The image, captured on August 8, shows the comet as it plunges our planet at 37 mph or more than 133,000 mph.

Comet NEOWISE was visible in the sky last month, even with the naked eye. It was notable for being the brightest comet in more than 20 years, as the 1997 Hell-Bop comet passed.

It was named for the NASA mission that first saw it, the Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), and became a popular target among amateur astronomers worldwide. But if you missed seeing it while it was going through this time, it’s very bad – astronomers estimate it won’t return to our region of the solar system for 7,000 years.

The NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope has yet to capture the closest images to the sky's latest visitor headlines, Comet C / 2020 F3 NEOWISE
The NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope has so far captured images closest to the latest visitor to the sky to make headlines, comet C / 2020 F3 NEOWISE, after being passed by the Sun. This colorful image of the comet was taken on 8 August 2020. The two structures visible to the left and right of the comet’s center are jets of squeezing ice from below the surface of the nucleus, resulting in squeezing through dust and gas. A high velocity. The jets emerge as cone-like structures, then are ejected from the rotation of the comet’s nucleus. NASA, ESA, Q. Zhang (California Institute of Technology), a. Pagan (STSCI)

Luminous comets such as NEOWISE are difficult to photograph because they collapse due to excessive heat generated by approaching the Sun. NEOWISE, however, retained its solid core of ice so that Hubble would be able to capture it. The core itself is very small, photographing less than 3 miles away, but the telescope can see clouds of dust and gas around this core, which is over 11,000 miles.

However, the photo is not just for entertainment. It can also teach us about how comets react to their environments. “Hubble photographs can help reveal the color of comet dust and how it changes color when a comet moves away from the sun,” Hubble scientists wrote in a statement. “This, in turn, may explain how solar heat affects the material and composition of that dust and comet’s coma. The ultimate goal here would be to determine the basic properties of the dust. Researchers who used Hubble to observe the comet For, they are currently looking further into the figures to see what they are capable of. “

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