9
Jun 11

Rosetta comet probe enters hibernation in deep space

Source: ESA


Animation of a series of astronomical images that include Comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
made by ESO telescope (first image) and by Rosetta's OSIRIS imaging system (all other images).
Credits: ESA 2011 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The final command placing ESA's Rosetta comet-chaser into deep-space hibernation was sent earlier today. With virtually all systems shut down, the probe will now coast for 31 months until waking up in 2014 for arrival at its comet destination. (read more)

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6
Jun 11

Rosetta to sleep through loneliest leg of comet mission

Source: ESA


Artist's impression of the Rosetta. Image credits: ESA.

On 8 June, mission controllers will have the first opportunity to switch ESA's Rosetta comet-hunter into deep-space hibernation for 31 months. During this loneliest leg of its decade-long mission, Rosetta will loop ever closer toward comet 67-P, soaring to almost 1000 million km from Earth. (read more)

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30
May 11

ESA launches Cool Comet campaign

Link: ESA News


Giotto's 1986 encounter with Comet Halley.
Credits: Halley Multicolor Camera Team, Giotto Project, ESA

ESA has lauched a new campaign for comet lovers. If  you use Twitter and you are intrigued by comets  you will have the opportunity of a lifetime to win a trip to ESA's operations centre in Germany on 15 June and celebrate 25 years of comet exploration. (learn  more)

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7
Mar 11

Carbon fibre stretches from comet to machine tools

Source: ESA

The Rosetta orbiter swoops over the lander soon after touchdown on the
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Image credits: Astrium - E. Viktor.

Ultra-light carbon-fibre rods used to stiffen a comet probe’s legs are now being harnessed by a German manufacturer to boost the precision and efficiency of their laser cutters.(read more)

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24
Feb 11

Stardust NExT encouter with comet Tempel 1

Source: NASA /Stardust NExT

NASA has released videos and images of the encounter with comet Tempel 1. On this first video scientists explain the mission and how its goals were accomplished. Scientists reveal sights and sounds of comet Tempel 1 flyby by the Stardust-NExT spacecraft on Valentine's Day, Feb.14.


Credit: NASA/JPL

On this second video we can perceive how, during its Feb. 14, 2011, flyby of comet Tempel 1, an instrument on the protective shield on NASA's Stardust spacecraft was pelted by dust particles and small rocks, as can be heard in this audio track.


Credit: NASA/JPL

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16
Feb 11

The Valentine's flyby of Stardust- Image Release

Source: NASA


The new images of comet Temple 1.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

NASA's Stardust spacecraft returned new images of a comet showing a scar resulting from the 2005 Deep Impact mission. The images also showed the comet has a fragile and weak nucleus.

The spacecraft made its closest approach to comet Tempel 1 on Monday, Feb. 14, at 8:40 p.m. PST at a distance of approximately 111 miles. Stardust took 72 high-resolution images of the comet. It also accumulated 468 kilobytes of data about the dust in its coma, the cloud that is a comet's atmosphere. The craft is on its second mission of exploration called Stardust-NExT, having completed its prime mission collecting cometary particles and returning them to Earth in 2006.(read more)

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9
Feb 11

NASA's Stardust will meet Comet Temple on Valentine's Day

Source: NASA


The first image of comet Tempel 1 taken by NASA's Stardust spacecraft
made from observations on Jan. 18 and 19, 2011. The panel on the right
highlights the location of comet Tempel 1 in the frame.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Stardust probe will flyby Tempel 1 and give scientists an opportunity to look for changes on the comet's surface since it was visited by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft in July 2005. Since then, Tempel 1 has completed one orbit of the sun, and scientists are looking forward to monitoring any differences in the comet.

On January 18 and 19 Stardust captured its first images of Comet Temple 1 from a distance of 26.3 million kilometers (16.3 million miles), and 25.4 million kilometers (15.8 million miles) respectively. On February 14, Stardust will fly within about 200 kilometers of the comet's nucleus.

During its 12 years in space, Stardust became the first spacecraft to collect samples of a comet (Wild 2) in 2004, which were sent in 2006 to Earth for study. (read more)

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2
Feb 11

NASA's NEOWISE Completes Scan for Asteroids and Comets

Source: NASA/WISE


20 Comets discovered by the NEOWISE portion of the WISE mission.
Image Credit: Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

NASA's NEOWISE mission has completed its survey of small bodies, asteroids and comets, in our solar system. The mission's discoveries of previously unknown objects include 20 comets, more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and 134 near-Earth objects (NEOs). The NEOs are asteroids and comets with orbits that come within 28 million miles of Earth's path around the Sun.(read more)

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13
Jan 11

Sundiving Comet Storm

Credit: NASA Science News


SOHO's 2000th comet, spotted by a Polish amateur astronomer on December 26, 2010.
Credit: SOHO/Karl Battams

The sun has just experienced a storm—not of explosive flares and hot plasma, but of icy comets.

Sundiving comets—a.k.a. "sungrazers"—are nothing new. SOHO typically sees one every few days, plunging inward and disintegrating as solar heat sublimes its volatile ices. But now an  amount 25 comets has hit the Sun in only ten days. (read more)

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24
Nov 10

The Sun Steals Comets from Other Stars

Source: NASA Science News


Contrast-enhanced image obtained during Deep Impact's Nov. 4th flyby of Comet Hartley 2.
Could this comet rock-star have been stolen from another stellar system? No one knows.
Image credit: NASA/Deep Impact.

Some of the comets in our Solar System probably came from other stars, according to new research by NASA-supported scientists. Studying these 'alien' comets, they say, could reveal new information about stellar systems far, far away. (read ore)

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20
Nov 10

Cometary Snowstorm Engulfs Hartley 2

Source: NASA Science News


Comet Snowstorm. Image credit: NASA/Deep Impact

NASA has just issued a travel advisory for spacecraft: Watch out for Comet Hartley 2, it is experiencing a significant winter snowstorm.

Deep Impact photographed the unexpected tempest when it flew past the comet's nucleus on Nov. 4th at a distance of only 700 km (435 miles). At first, researchers only noticed the comet's hyperactive jets. The icy nucleus is studded with them, flamboyantly spewing carbon dioxide from dozens of sites. A closer look revealed an even greater marvel, however. The space around the comet's core is glistening with chunks of ice and snow, some of them possibly as large as a basketball. (read more)

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9
Nov 10

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features

Source: NASA/JPL News


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

NASA's EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2 at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT) Thursday, Nov. 4. Scientists say initial images from the flyby provide new information about the comet's volume and material spewing from its surface.(read more)

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28
Oct 10

Scientists Watch for a "Hartley-id" Meteor Shower

Credit: NASA


Comet 103P/Hartley 2. Credit: Mike Broussard

A pair of unusual fireballs over Canada and the southeastern USA have experts wondering if Comet Hartley 2 might produce a meteor shower in early November.(read more)

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17
Oct 10

NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Active Comet Hartley 2

Credit:NASA Science

NASA's Deep Impact/EPOXI spacecraft is hurtling toward Comet Hartley 2 for a breathtaking flyby on Nov. 4th. Mission scientists say all systems are go for a close encounter with one of the most active comets they've seen. (read more)

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20
Jan 10

Comet might result of a collision between asteroids

Source: Skymania

Astronomers are watching what they believe is a remarkable collision between two asteroids deep in space. If they are right, it is the first time a high-speed crash has ever been witnessed between massive space rocks.

The cosmic hit-and-run is happening 250 million miles away in a band of debris lying between planets Mars and Jupiter - the main asteroid belt.

An automatic sky camera called LINEAR in New Mexico snapped a newly discovered object there that looks fuzzy with a tail like a comet rather than a dot of light like a normal asteroid. It has been labelled P/2010 A2.(read more)

Related Links:
Skymania
Sky and Telescope
Universe Today
Discovery News

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