Astronomy Picture of the Day

Crumbling Comet

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#86881 by @ 14.05.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Crumbling Comet


This false-color mosaic
of crumbling comet
Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
spans about 6 degrees (12 full moons) along the comet's orbit.

Recorded on May 4-6 by an infrared camera on board the
Spitzer Space Telescope, the picture captures about 45 of
the 60 or more
cataloged large comet fragments.

The brightest fragment at the upper right of the track
is Fragment C.

Bright Fragment B
is below and left of center.

Looking for clues to how the comet broke up,
Spitzer's infrared view also captures
the trail of dust left over as the comet deteriorated
during previous

Emission from the dust particles warmed by sunlight appears
to fill the space along the cometary orbit.

The fragments are near their closest approach
in the coming
, about 10 million kilometers away, and
pose any danger
to our fair planet.

Credit & Copyright
#86883 by @ 14.05.2006 12:49 - nach oben -
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