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Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3


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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 10:58 AM

The Comet With a Broken Heart

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) press release pr-15-06 is reproduced below:

25 April 2006
For immediate release

The Comet With a Broken Heart

VLT Takes Images of Disintegrating Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3



On the night of April 23 to 24, ESO's Very Large Telescope observed fragment B of the comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 that had split a few days earlier. To their great surprise, the ESO astronomers discovered that the piece just ejected by fragment B was splitting again! Five other mini-comets are also visible on the image. The comet seems thus doomed to disintegrate but the question remains in how much time.

Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW 3) is a body with a very tormented past. This comet revolves around the Sun in about 5.4 years, in a very elongated orbit that brings it from inwards of the Earth's orbit to the neighbourhood of giant planet Jupiter. In 1995, when it was coming 'close' to the Earth, it underwent a dramatic and completely unexpected, thousand-fold brightening. Observations in 1996, with ESO's New Technology Telescope and 3.6-m telescope, at La Silla, showed that this was due to the fact that the comet had split into three distinct pieces. Later, in December 1996, two more fragments were discovered. At the last comeback, in 2001, of these five fragments only three were still seen, the fragments C (the largest one), B and E. No new fragmentations happened during this approach, apparently.


ESO PR Photo 15a/06

user posted image

Image of the broken fragments surrounding Fragment B of Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 observed with FORS1 on ESO's VLT in four filters (B, V, R, and I). As the telescope was tracking the comet, the stars appear as coloured trails, indicating the order in which the comet was observed in the different filters. North is up and East is to the left.


Things were different this time, when the comet moved again towards its closest approach to the Sun - and to the Earth. Early in March, seven fragments were observed, the brightest (fragment C) being of magnitude 12, i.e. 250 fainter than what the unaided can see, while fragment B was 10 times fainter still. In the course of March, 6 new fragments were seen.

Early in April, fragment B went into outburst, brightening by a factor 10 and on 7 April, six new fragments were discovered, confirming the high degree of fragmentation of the comet. On 12 April, fragment B was as bright as the main fragment C, with a magnitude around 9 (16 times fainter than what a keen observer can see with unaided eyes). Fragment B seems to have fragmented again, bringing the total of fragments close to 40, some being most probably very small, boulder-sized objects with irregular and short-lived activity.

The new observations reveal that this new small fragment has split again! The image clearly reveals that below the main B fragment, there is a small fragment that is divided into two and a careful analysis reveals five more tiny fragments almost aligned. Thus, this image alone shows at least 7 fragments. The comet has thus produced a whole set of mini-comets!


ESO PR Photo 15b/06

user posted image

Image of the broken fragments surrounding Fragment B of Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 observed with FORS1 on ESO's VLT in three filters (B - blue, V - green, and R - red). As the telescope was tracking the comet, the stars appear as coloured trails, indicating the order in which the comet was observed in the different filters. As less filters have been used for this image, that zooms-in on the fragments, the colours appear different than ESO PR Photo 15a/06.


Will the process continue? Will more and more fragments form and will the comet finally disintegrate? How bright will the fragments be when the comet will be the closest to the Earth, on 11 to 14 May, and how many new fragments will have appeared before the comet reaches its closest approach to the Sun, around 7 June?

Fragment C of the comet should be the closest to Earth on 11 May, when it will be about 12 million km away, while fragment B will come as 'close' as 10 million km from Earth on 14 May. Although this is the closest a comet ever approached Earth in more than twenty years - even Comet Hyakutake's smallest distance was 15 million km - this is still 26 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon and therefore does not pose any threat to our planet.


ESO PR Photo 15c/06

user posted image

Image of Fragment B and associated mini-comets. This is a digitally-enhanced zoom-in version of PR Photo 15b/06 to show in a better way some of the smaller fragments. An arrow indicates the fragments that could be seen, including the main one - on top, the two just below that have just split and five others, much dimmer.


If nothing else happens, at the time of closest approach, fragment B will be just visible with unaided eye by experienced observers. It should be an easy target however to observe with binoculars. If we are lucky, however, fragment B presents another outburst, becoming a magnificent sight in the night sky. On the other hand, it could just as well fade away into oblivion. But then, the main fragment C should still be visible, even possibly with the unaided eye.

ESO telescopes will observe the comet in the greatest detail at the end of May, when it is best observed from Chile and is brighter. These observations will obtain invaluable information, especially as the fragmentation process is revealing all the pristine material buried below the crust of the comet. As such, these observations will prove an ideal complement to the most comprehensive observation campaign made with ESO telescopes of Comet Tempel 1 when it was being bombarded by the Deep Impact spacecraft, on 4 July 2005.

High resolution images and their captions are available on this page.



Notes

About 30 comets have been observed to split in historical times and this process is almost always accompanied by a significant brightening. For instance, the nucleus of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke up into at least 21 individual pieces when it passed very close to Jupiter on July 8, 1992; this was the reason that it became bright enough to be detected some eight months later. In the case of SW-3, the opening of rifts and the subsequent splitting took place far from any planet and must in some way have been caused by increased solar heating. It is possible that major cracks and rifts opened in the irregularly shaped icy nucleus already before perihelion as the surface temperature began to increase. Completely "fresh" cometary material was thereby exposed to the solar light and the evaporation rate increased quickly, releasing more gas and dust into space. In the course of this process, the rifts gradually widened until the definitive breakage occurred somewhat later.

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 was discovered on May 2, 1930, on a photographic plate obtained at the Hamburg Observatory (Germany) by two astronomers at this institution, Arnold Schwassmann and Arthur Arno Wachmann. The subsequent observations showed that the comet moved in an elliptical orbit with a revolution period of somewhat more than 5 years. Great efforts were expended to observe the comet during the next returns, but it was not recovered until nearly 50 years and eight revolutions later, when its faint image was found of a plate obtained in August 1979 with a telescope at the Perth Observatory in Western Australia. It was missed in 1984, but was sighted again in 1989 and since then, it is observed at each close approach. Thus this comet has only been observed during six out of fifteen approaches since 1930. While this may be partly due to a less advantageous location in the sky at some returns, it is also a strong indication that the comet behaves unpredictably and must have a quite variable brightness. Orbital calculations have shown that it was inserted into the present, short-period orbit by the strong gravitational pull of Jupiter during several, relatively close encounters with this giant planet. For instance, it passed Jupiter at a distance of about 30 million kilometres in 1882 and 1894, and again at 40 million kilometres in 1965. SW-3 belongs to the so-called "Jupiter family" of comets.

The observations were done with the FORS1 multi-mode instrument on Kueyen, the second 8.2-m Unit Telescope of the Very Large Telescope located at Cerro Paranal (Chile). The fragment was observed in four bands (B, V, R, and I) for a total of 30 minutes by Emmanuel Jehin, Olivier Hainaut, Michelle Doherty, and Christian Herrera, all from ESO. The astronomers had the telescope track the comet, which explains why the stars appear as trails of coloured dots, each colour corresponding to the order in which the observations were done in the various filters. At the time of the observations, the comet was 26.6 million km away from the Earth, in the constellation Corona Borealis. The seeing was 1.5" as the comet was observed when it was rather low on the horizon as seen from Paranal. The final processing of the image was done by Haennes Heyer and Olivia Blanchemain (ESO).

More observations of the comet are foreseen from 20 till 30 May with ESO telescopes on the three sites of La Silla (NTT, 3.6m), Paranal (VLT) and Chajnantor (APEX). These observations will study aspects as diverse as the presence of organics in the dust, the composition of this dust, the structure of the coma, and the presence of deuterated water.


Source: ESO Press Release pr-15-06

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 27 April 2006 - 10:02 PM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 10:01 PM

NASA Clarifies Information on Comet Approach

The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

April 27, 2006
Grey Hautaluoma/Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-0668/1726

RELEASE: 06-204


NASA Clarifies Information on Comet Approach


NASA issued information Thursday about Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, which will be passing Earth as it approaches the point nearest the sun during its 5.5 year orbit.

Astronomers have been observing the comet for more than 75 years. The trajectory of this comet has been monitored and refined over time, and its path around the sun is well understood.

The comet has broken into more than 40 fragments. Any pieces resulting from the breakup of its main body will come no closer than 5.5 million miles to Earth, or more than 20 times the Earth-moon distance, during its closest approaches May 12 - 28. Neither the main comet nor any of its pieces pose a danger to Earth.

The main fragment C comet will pass closest to Earth on May 12 at a distance of approximately 7.3 million miles. It will be visible to small telescopes during the morning hours in the constellation Vulpecula. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will observe the comet in May. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has also viewed it. For images and more information about the comet, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/home
- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-204

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 03 June 2006 - 11:47 AM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 10:17 PM

Fragmenting Comet Won't Hit Earth

04.27.06

There will be no tsunamis, firestorms or mass extinctions to spoil your Memorial Day weekend.

Although the Internet is rife with speculation that a fragment of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 will strike the Earth on May 25, neither the main comet nor any of its more than 40 fragments pose a danger to Earth.

"We are very well acquainted with the trajectory of Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office. "There is absolutely no danger to people on the ground or the inhabitants of the International Space Station, as the main body of the object and any pieces from the breakup will pass many millions of miles beyond the Earth."

user posted image
Image above: Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys took images of the disintegration of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3's fragment B. Click to Enlarge Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (APL/JHU), M. Mutchler and Z. Levay (STScI)
Movie: Zoom to Fragment B close-up: + 544 Kb QuickTime | + Windows Media


However, you can see the comet falling apart right before our eyes, thanks to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Recent Hubble images have uncovered many more fragments than have been reported by ground-based observers. These observations provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the demise of a comet nucleus.

None of the comet's fragments will come closer than 5.5 million miles to Earth during its closest approaches May 12 - 28. That's more than 20 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

The main fragment, designated fragment C, will pass closest to Earth on May 12 at a distance of approximately 7.3 million miles. It will be visible to small telescopes during the morning hours in the constellation Vulpecula. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will observe the comet in May.

Astronomers have been observing the comet for more than 75 years. The trajectory of this comet has been monitored and refined over time, and its path around the sun is well understood. Amateur and professional astronomers around the world have been tracking its spectacular disintegration for years.

The comet is currently comprised of a chain of fragments, named alphabetically, stretching across several degrees on the sky. (The sun and moon each have an apparent diameter of about 1/2 of a degree.) Ground-based observers have noted dramatic brightening events associated with some of the fragments (as seen in the image below) indicating that they are continuing to break-up and that some may disappear altogether.

user posted image
Image above: Ground based view of fragments B and G, R, and N on April 8, 2006. Credit: M. Jäger and G. Rhemann

Hubble caught two of the fragments, B and G, shortly after large outbursts in activity. Hubble also photographed fragment C , which at the time was less active. The resulting images reveal that a hierarchical destruction process is taking place, in which fragments are continuing to break into smaller chunks. Several dozen "mini-fragments" are found trailing behind each main fragment, probably associated with the ejection of house-sized chunks of surface material that can only be detected in these very sensitive and high- resolution Hubble images.

Sequential Hubble images of the B fragment, taken a few days apart, suggest that the chunks are pushed down the tail by outgassing from the icy, sunward-facing surfaces of the chunks, much like space-walking astronauts are propelled by their jetpacks. The smaller chunks have the lowest mass, and so are accelerated away from the parent nucleus faster than the larger chunks. Some of the chunks seem to dissipate completely over the course of several days.

Deep-freeze relics of the early solar system, cometary nuclei are porous and fragile mixes of dust and ices. They can be broken apart by gravitational tidal forces when they pass near large bodies. For example, Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was torn to pieces when it skirted near Jupiter in 1992, prior to plunging into Jupiter's atmosphere two years later. They can also fly apart from rapid rotation of the nucleus, break apart because of thermal stresses as they pass near the Sun, or explosively pop apart like corks from champagne bottles due to the outburst of trapped volatile gases.

"Catastrophic breakups may be the ultimate fate of most comets," says planetary astronomer Hal Weaver of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, who led the team that made the recent Hubble observations and who used Hubble previously to study the fragmentations of comets Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1993-1994, Hyakutake in 1996, and 1999 S4 (LINEAR) in 2000. Analysis of the new Hubble data, and data taken by other observatories as the comet approaches the Earth and Sun, may reveal which of these breakup mechanisms are contributing to the disintegration of 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.

German astronomers Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann discovered this comet during a photographic search for asteroids in 1930, when the comet passed within 5.8 million miles of the Earth (only 24 times the Earth-Moon distance). The comet orbits the Sun every 5.4 years, but it was not seen again until 1979. The comet was missed again in 1985 but has been observed every return since then.

During the fall of 1995, the comet had a huge outburst in activity and shortly afterwards four separate nuclei were identified and labeled "A", "B", "C", and "D", with "C" being the largest and the presumed principal remnant of the original nucleus. Only the C and B fragments were definitively observed during the next return, possibly because of the poor geometry for the 2000-2001 apparition. The much better observing circumstances during this year's return may be partly responsible for the detection of so many new fragments, but it is also likely that the disintegration of the comet is now accelerating. Whether any of the many fragments will survive the trip around the Sun remains to be seen.


Source: NASA - Missions - Comet 73P

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#4    DR. YO

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 05:53 PM

Chunks of a comet currently splitting into pieces in the night sky will not strike the Earth next month, nor will it spawn killer tsunamis and mass extinctions, NASA officials said Thursday.
The announcement, NASA hopes, will squash rumors that a fragment of the crumbling Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW 3) will slam into Earth just before Memorial Day.

"There are some Internet stories going around that there's going to be an impact on May 25," NASA spokesperson Grey Hautaluoma, told SPACE.com. "We just want to get the facts out."

Astronomers have been observing 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, a comet that circles the Sun every 5.4 years, for more than 75 years and are confident that any of the icy object's fragments will remain at least a distant 5.5 million miles (8.8 million kilometers) from Earth – more than 20 times the distance to the Moon – at closest approach between May 12 and May 28.

"We are very well acquainted with the trajectory of Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, in a written statement. "There is absolutely no danger to people on the ground or the inhabitants of the International Space Station, as the main body of the object and any pieces from the breakup will pass many millions of miles beyond the Earth."

The main SW 3 fragment, dubbed Fragment C, will make its closest pass by Earth on May 12 at a safe distance of 7.3 million miles (11.7 million kilometers), NASA said, adding that skywatchers will be able to use small telescopes to spot the comet chunks by scanning the constellation Vulpelca during the early-morning hours.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments have been watching SW 3's disintegration. The comet's numerous fragments stretch across several degrees of the night sky. For comparison, the Moon's diameter covers about one-half a degree in the sky.

"Catastrophic breakups may be the ultimate fate of most comets," explained Hal Weaver, a planetary astronomer of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in a statement.

Aside from a great sky show, the comet poses no danger to Earth and its inhabitants, NASA officials said.

Source

We live for another day.  grin2.gif  grin2.gif

I'm merging this post with a thread which already exists for this subject.
Waspie_Dwarf

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 28 April 2006 - 06:00 PM.

It has been said that there are three types of people:

1. Those who make things happen.
2. Those who watch things happen
3. Those who wonder what happened.

The vast majority of mankind find themselves in the last two categories. Most have "eyes to see" but don't "see" what is happening. Most have "ears that hear" but don't "understand" what IS happening --

#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 11:47 PM

linked-image

Comet Stepping Stones

This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows three of the many fragments making up Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3. The infrared picture also provides the best look yet at the crumbling comet's trail of debris, seen here as a bridge connecting the larger fragments.

The comet circles around our sun every 5.4 years. In 1995, it splintered apart into four pieces, labeled A through D, with C being the biggest. Since then, the comet has continued to fracture into dozens of additional pieces. This image is centered about midway between fragments C and B; fragment G can be seen in the upper right corner.

The comet's trail is made of dust, pebbles and rocks left in the comet's wake during its numerous journeys around the sun. Such debris can become the stuff of spectacular meteor showers on Earth.

This image was taken on April 1, 2006, by Spitzer's multi-band imaging photometer using the 24-micron wavelength channel.

Source: Spitzer Space Telescope - Images

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 01 May 2007 - 11:14 PM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#6    Master Sage

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 07:47 AM

If you look at the history of fragmenting comets, this one wont last long. The most famos would probably be 3p/Beila, wich was first obseved in 1782, broke in 2, and was never sceen after 1852. Astronomers have linked a meteor shower, I think the Leonids, with its orbit.

Also, you state that of the origianl 5, only 3 remained at one point. There seem to be three bright fragments in the photo... i'm guessing the A and D frgments disinagrated.

Edited by Master Sage, 07 May 2006 - 07:50 AM.

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#7    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 09:11 AM

A and D fragments still exist, they are just not shown in the image as it is too narrow a field of view.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#8    Master Sage

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 10:21 PM

Sry didnt know. Still, keep the first part of my post in mind.

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#9    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 10:56 PM

Quote


Sry didnt know. Still, keep the first part of my post in mind.


It's me that should appologise, you were correct. I've rechecked the information and fragments A & D can no longer be observed. The fragments which can now be observed are: B, C, G and R. C is what remains of the main comet.

Source: Cometography.com

As for the first part of your post, I couldn't agree more. This comet will not survive many more orbits of the sun.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#10    Abecrombie

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 01:52 PM

in 2004-2005 we have experiend more sky phenominon in and of comets meteor showers comet dust . per comet showers,. planet lining up in such a way , that hasnt been since before our last 2 - or more generations ,. Phenomenon of similar events involving planetary occurances that will not be again cycling for another 60 years . and as far as im concerned ,...the theory of relativity is based on waves speed and velocity of light,. how light if traveling along it catching up slows down due to the mass energy formed ,.. to then bounce back at is something even old then the actual calculation correct or not is still interesting in the case of light energy mass and waves. gases or liquids .if an invisible atom can be reduced to the point of nuclei splitting uranium condensed to the point of a combustion so big it forces at great speed mass objects or does the gases involved produc them . and who is to say meteors or comets could be coming so quick in waves or miles per hour , light speed traveling in space is 617 million miles per second ,. if a comet was traveling {it is light} of some some type burns again yet another type of transformation through the orbital atmosphere of earth then even again becoming pulled in by gravity would be third the changing out from space near earth object,... in my opinion so big we could act in eneough time to s.o.speak see it coming. .

now we have discovered a new planet past pluto in the last five years,.. . it is the only so called planet that in tune to pluto orbit around each other . i find this odd. i thought planets were round aparently not to some others that claim it is a planet ,. it was first to be believed as plutos moon due to its shape and probably other obsertorvital clues. but their is a ? here for me ,... if the two orbit around each other , what would it take for that planet to perhaps break aprt if it was to be hit by a comet . this planet is the only one that doesny follow the suns lead it is drawn to plutos gravitional orit and they dance in circles aside from the solar orbit of our solar system. maybe it is not moon ,not a planet,. but a meteor or part of a asteriod that later joined our solar system and a moon was nasas first guess ,.. then discovered it was too big to be a moon ,it falls into a catogory of planet,{i call it thing}
but it could have gotton stuck in its travels if floating in a atroid belt ,of our own even. it is not round so craters no most likely depending on the size of what could hit it could break that sucker apart eaisly . and if its weird newly discovered addition to the family of planets in our solar system has a orbit with pluto favoring not the solar systems belts within the three areas of position of planetary rotation then struck apart what would it do to our planet pluto and pluto is just a cold rock of a planet would that break and if orbits can pick up and dance with each other depending on location and position of soloar evoled alreADY SYSTEM,...  then what then could happen it would too break apart and those pieces would all flow eithe in out and all about but some no doubt the bigger ones will most likely be sucked into the gravity of our long establised solar system and then would it hit other moons ,? planets? or would it fall into a many of the astriod belts exhisting and if so which one? depending on all these possibilities,.... i think we as a race of living intellegence are overlooking other more obvious and possible occurances that could happen. if this indeed happen with our solor system the distance of size impact and sppeed it could would travel could be detramental and just so sudden it would catch us off guard and unprepred,.. the dinosuars experienced something that the sdiment of the earths petrified crusts tell us the cycle of time and repeated events and we are long over due ,..

wouldnt it be great if all the money as of today was spent on reserving all of the original resources and animal life that so informally has been taking addvantage of and for granted. it takes a long time for a diamond to finally be valueable,... why would we want to invest in long periods investing in something when the value isnt a materieal object but is more than any amount money could by keeping the elements such as water clean artic poles from global warming , ect. it is too late no matter what we do we are doomed to the fate this game of gambling with the elements is ignorant and all the forcasts physics technoligy is inconclusive and piontless . we have become overpopulated and uncerned as majority has shown it , and the earth is telling us well its time ,.. then predictions are sought and mankind thinks they can predict this ,.. in space what we have learned should be obvious,.. we are not the cause of why the exhistance of everything exhists,. we can reproduce but we are not what keeps us wondering all of the time wanting answers. we need answers and we look were it seem logical or smart well weather itself is a unpredictable atomopheric event just for our planet ,.. clue one or one of the clues . what really should we be looking at what for and are we excepting the fact that time is irrealavant when it comes to the planet anyhow? what if the sun decided to go first or space storms somehow got wind of us and said "lets go for it " UNPREDICTABLE"

if man is unpredictable and life and death are not certain whaen to take action for us to know and predict our own weather too. what should we really be doing ? i wouldnt mind hearing others ideas comments facts i do not know or new insight false info etc.

this post here of mine is based on ideas of possible events from standpoints of catastrophic orgin ,.. other than what will has and currently being tracked for some refference to base decisions on,. im asking if theyre are other possiblities that have been completely overlooked do to the magnatude of the sureal issue at which would be disasterous enough ,.

when the world towers fell on 9-11 it was a element of surprise of the most simplistic methods of attack,.. why would space disreguard anything if we are mere man space is what we were a part of before we were mankind ,...

i believ that we are not smart at all if as a race that is a population if the organising facts are not brought to attention ,.. it is like chess stratagy is a warlike crime with people but mother nature never is made a fool of and that is obvious to me ???? is it obvious to anyone else and if possible angels of harm are real and they are here at home on earth . all the time and money and technoligy should be of concerning for our planet and our best well being to survive here,.. its bad enough with all the unpredictable occurancesa populations still kill and mame torore and polute , starve and disease , discontinue to put time energy and great lengths , like wave lengths ,. like the equation of time speed velocity and light .john lennon said it the best in the song imagine,..   ill stop there cause im not deleteing the whole post i worked too hard to type it . my hands are arthritic and it has purpose anyway ,...but remember IMAGINE FROM JOHN LENNON.......same thing i think....

"We are a planet within ourselves, we are gas, mass, and  energy. traveling, around , we can see light but choose to
not to allow ourselves to form to it .we look the other direction. not all but most
we
  move around with speed .and produce sound, yet  all we do is go agaisnt one another instead of allowing yes.gif
the gravitational pull to bring us together in a unity of one ,...
we have got look in the direction and want to move tword that light together
as a whole object of eneregy,. in order for an orbit to move around a star we must
follow the order in which that source of light is located , we can choose ,  instead we diverse but it doesnt mean we all go supernova ,... time will tell .just like always. we cannot .our solar system is a good model for the human race and all the controversy about God , until we can all allow in choice of course to let this bigger souce of eneregy claim its name ,,.science has gone in not wanting majority to rule for this sense of belonging to something because it is so big ,.. its is so personal we war and we dont have to, we dont even have to agree but act as if the earth does without destructing choices man has made
there is a intelligence and we didnt create it , even that is a bigger than mankin to eccept.
everthing that is exhisting except for mankind as we know it has a strucre for reasonable
purposes. we all know this , execpt the fact that free will is individual and a chioce left for the individual human being , it is a choice we would have to all make ,. to have free will tells me there is something bigger than me i must recognise as bigger and better and i came from that source of intelligence , be cuse besides lifeforms on our planet it seems the wather and space beyond including our galaxay mass storms and energy transforms into new or dying galaxies , life planets solar sysems , order , strucure force and fate are all waiting for an answer we could have made the earth better for all its life forms and sooner than later this small little big bang civilization cannot follow all the rest of balance and structure the rest of the universe does? hence the phrase
we are and will be a catasrpohie waiting too happen "
yes.gif

Mind you,...im not knocking nasa or space exporation science or theorism,etc. im personaly
have always had the big WHAT IF THIS , WHAT IF THAT ? type of personality and this was a good topic where it just all came out due to what ive researched and learned thus far in life. so curious of course is there any other revelations or similar thoughts , comments ,
again this is not a factualy typed post but a questionable pondering thought of what if theory to possible and similar catisrophic events that could be foreseen or insight like in the mind . any others care to share thiers or does this post make any sense to whare im coming from?

Edited by abecrombi, 08 May 2006 - 02:11 PM.

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#11    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 02:02 PM

I'm sorry abecrombi, I've read your post twice. Even trying to take into account the terrible English I can not make any sense out of it at all. I really do not know what you are trying to say or what it has got to do with Comet P73/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#12    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 12:35 AM

Earth Science Picture of the Day
Each day a different image or photograph is featured, with an
accompanying caption, that deals with various topics in Earth Science.

EPOD from 05-08-2006

Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann

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Provided and copyright by:
Paolo Candy, Cimini Astronomical Observatory

The photo above of Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann was captured from the Cimini Astronomical Observatory in Soriano, Italy on April 13, 2006. Fragments B and G of this comet were obtained using the Ritchey-Crétien 20" f/8 telescope (4,000 mm focal length. Fragment B is glowing like a 9th magnitude star, whereas fragment G has a visual magnitude of 12. In May 2006, these fragments will fly past Earth, closer than any comet has come in more than twenty years. The closest fragment will be about six million miles away--or twenty-five times farther than the Moon, according to Don Yeomans, head of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This interesting comet could be visible to naked eye in later in May.

Related Links:
Paolo's Home Page  
Space Watch
Abrams Planetarium
Current Comets
Summary authors & editors:
Paolo Candy


Source: EPOD

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#13    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 09:59 PM

Spitzer Telescope Sees Trail of Comet Crumbs

For Release: May 10, 2006, 2006

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A Million Comet Pieces
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the broken Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 skimming along a trail of debris left during its multiple trips around the sun. The flame-like objects are the comet's fragments and their tails, while the dusty comet trail is the line bridging the fragments.

Comet 73P /Schwassman-Wachmann 3 began to splinter apart in 1995 during one of its voyages around the sweltering sun. Since then, the comet has continued to disintegrate into dozens of fragments, at least 36 of which can be seen here. Astronomers believe the icy comet cracked due the thermal stress from the sun.

The Spitzer image provides the best look yet at the trail of debris left in the comet's wake after its 1995 breakup. The observatory's infrared eyes were able to see the dusty comet bits and pieces, which are warmed by sunlight and glow at infrared wavelengths. This comet debris ranges in size from pebbles to large boulders. When Earth passes near this rocky trail every year, the comet rubble burns up in our atmosphere, lighting up the sky in meteor showers. In 2022, Earth is expected to cross close to the comet's trail, producing a noticeable meteor shower.

Astronomers are studying the Spitzer image for clues to the comet's composition and how it fell apart. Like NASA's Deep Impact experiment, in which a probe smashed into comet Tempel 1, the cracked Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 provides a perfect laboratory for studying the pristine interior of a comet.

This image was taken from May 4 to May 6 by Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer, using its 24-micron wavelength channel.



NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has snapped a picture of the bits and pieces making up Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3, which is continuing to break apart on its periodic journey around the sun. The new infrared view shows several chunks of the comet riding along its own dusty trail of crumbs.

"Spitzer has revealed a trail of meteor-sized debris filling the comet's orbit," said Dr. William T. Reach of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Reach and his team recently observed the comet using Spitzer.

Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 consists of a collection of fragments that file along like ducks in a row around the sun every 5.4 years. This year, the bunch will pass by Earth beginning on May 12 before swinging by the sun on June 6. The fragments won't get too close to Earth, about 7.3 million miles, or 30 times the distance between Earth and the moon, but they should be visible through binoculars in the countryside night skies.

The icy comet began falling apart in 1995 during one of its tropical trips to the sun. Astronomers believe that its crusty outer layer cracked due to the heat, allowing fresh ice to evaporate and split the comet apart.

During the past six weeks, amateur and professional astronomers have been watching the comet fall apart before their telescopes' eyes. Spitzer viewed the broken comet from its quiet perch up in space May 4 to May 6, covering a portion of the sky that allowed it to spot 45 of the 58 known fragments.

The observatory's infrared view also provides the first look at the dusty trail left by the disintegrating comet after it splintered apart in 1995. The trail is made up of comet dust, pebbles and rocks that occasionally rain down on Earth in what is called the Tau Herculid meteor shower. From May 19 to June 19, as Earth passes through the outskirts of the trail, only a weak meteor shower is expected, with just a few "shooting stars" visible in the night sky. A larger meteor shower might occur in 2022 if Earth crosses near the comet's wake as predicted.

Spitzer's infrared eyes were able to see the dusty comet bits lining the trail because the dust is warmed by sunlight and glows at infrared wavelengths. Most of the dust particles, specifically the millimeter-sized nuggets, had never been seen before. Reach said that these particles probably represent the natural deterioration of the comet over the years, a process commonly observed in intact comets.

The comet dust also adds up to more evidence for the "icy dirtball" theory of comets. In recent years, more and more astronomers are coming to think of comets not as snowballs coated in dust, but as dirtballs crusted with ice.

"By measuring the brightness and extent of the debris trail, we are trying to find out whether most of the comet's mass disintegrates into vapors from evaporating ice, the house-sized chunks seen in images from the Hubble Space Telescope, or the meteor-sized debris seen in the Spitzer images," said Reach.

Reach and his team will continue to study the Spitzer data for clues to how the comet broke up. Their infrared data will tell them the sizes of the major fragments, which might indicate whether the comet did, as believed, crack under the thermal stress.

Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 should be dimly visible through binoculars on a clear night between the Cygnus and Pegasus constellations from May 12 to May 28. For more information about viewing the comet or the meteors, visit http://science.nasa....6/24mar_73p.htm. None of the comet's fragments pose a danger to Earth. For more information, see http://www.nasa.gov/.../Comet_73P.html.

Members of Reach's team include: Dr. Michael Kelley of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Dr. Carey M. Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.; Dr. Mark Sykes of Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Ariz.; and Dr. Masateru Ishiguro of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology. Spitzer's multi-band imaging photometer, which made the observations, was built by Ball Aerospace Corporation, Boulder, Colo.; the University of Arizona, Tucson; and Boeing North American, Canoga Park, Calif. The instrument's principal investigator is Dr. George Rieke of the University of Arizona.


For more information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit http://www.nasa.gov/home/


Whitney Clavin (818) 354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


jpl2006-075
ssc2006-13


Source: NASA/CalTech - Spitzer- Press Release

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#14    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 09:30 PM

Subaru Captures Crumbling Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
  
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Comets within a Comet

The Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea has captured an image of the comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 as its nucleus continues to crumble into more than fifty pieces. Subaru observed one of these icy chunks, called Fragment B, on May 3, 2006, using the telescope's wide-field camera Suprime-Cam as the comet passed within 16.5 million kilometers (just over 10 million miles) from Earth. (This is about 41 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.) The resulting visible-light image shows gas and dust forming the characteristic shape of a comet, with a halo-like coma and dust tail around Fragment B. Amazingly, it also reveals at least thirteen mini-comets that have recently broken off from the fragment. This is five more than were found in observations on April 23, 2006 by the European Southern Observatory's VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile.

A detailed analysis of the cometary fragments is yet to come. However astronomers have determined that the small pieces are only several tens of kilometers in diameter and are likely to disappear in a short time. Exactly how short is one of the questions astronomers are hoping to answer. Tetsuharu Fuse from Subaru Telescope says "the combination of information from many telescopes including large telescopes like Subaru and the VLT and smaller telescopes like the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory in Okinawa, Japan, will give us the insight into how comets fall apart and conversely how they hold together."

Comets are often described as "dirty snowballs," loose clumps of dust and ice covered by a crust of dirt. As they approach the Sun, comets can warm up and fall apart. In 1995, astronomers saw this comet become a thousand times brighter, and found that its nucleus had broken into three pieces. This year, observations from around the world have confirmed that the nucleus has broken into more than 50 pieces.

Friedrich Carl Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann from Germany discovered the comet, which is formally called 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, in 1930. It travels around the Sun in an 5.4-year-long elliptical orbit . When the comet approaches the Sun, depending on where Earth is in its orbit, the comet may or may not pass near us. Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 was long known as a "mystery comet" because it had been lost to observers for 50 years before it was rediscovered in 1979.

Over the next week, the comet will pass by Earth at a distance of 12 million kilometers (about 7.5 million miles). This is about 30 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Astronomers are keeping the giant eyes of telescopes pointed at this comet, and at the Subaru telescope, infrared light observations have already taken place.

People with binoculars or small telescopes can also see the brightest fragments of the comet as they pass through the constellations Cygnus and Pegasus over the next week. Viewing will probably be best after May 18th, when moonlight will not outshine the comet. Observers wishing to track the comet can look for finder charts searching the World Wide Web with the keywords "comet 73P chart" or going to most major astronomy web sites.

From Hawai'i, the best time to observe the comet is in the morning before sunrise. The comet will be high overhead in the northeastern sky over the next week.

Subaru is an 8.2 meter optical-infrared telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, a member institute of Japan's National Institutes of Natural Science.

The research team: Tetsuharu Fuse, Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). Hisanori Furusawa, Subaru Telescope, NAOJ. Junichi Watanabe, NAOJ. Daisuke Kinosh**a, Taiwan National Central University. Naoyuki Yamamoto, Grid Technology Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan


user posted image
Object: Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 Fragment B
Telescope and Focus: Subaru Telescope Prime Focus
Instrument: Suprime-Cam
Filter: R-band (0.65 micrometers)
Observation Time: May 3, 2006, UT
Exposure Time: 8 minutes
Field of View: Approximately 32.5 arcminutes x 23 arcminutes (Insert: 1.5 arcminute x 1 arcminute)
Orientation: North is up. East is left.


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Finding chart for the brightest fragment of Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (Fragment C) for May 12 though May 20, 2006.

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Mini-comets that have broken off from Fragment B of Comet 73P/ Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. The main body of Fragment B is the bright  object in the upper left corner.

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Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, Fragment B (Larger image)


Source: Subaru Telescope Press Release

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#15    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 09:42 PM

X-Rays Fly As Cracking Comet Streaks Across the Sky

05.12.06

Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have detected X-rays from a comet that is now passing the Earth and rapidly disintegrating on what could be its final orbit around the sun.

user posted image
Image above: NASA's Swift satellite captured this image of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 as it chanced to fly in front of the Ring Nebula. While comet Schwassmann-Wachmann is only about 7.3 million miles away, the Ring Nebula is about 2,300 light-years away (12,000 trillion miles). The image was created with Swift's UVOT telescope. The light captured here ranges from optical blue wavelengths into the ultraviolet band. The Ring Nebula, a remnant of a star explosion, is the lower, right-hand purplish object. Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann is the blue point in the center of the image surrounded by its halo and tail, shown here as a wine-colored glow. + High res (2.69 Mb) Credit: NASA/Swift/UVOT/PSU/Peter Brown

Swift's observations provide a rare opportunity to investigate several ongoing mysteries about comets and our solar system, and hundreds of scientists have tuned in to the event.

The comet, called 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, is visible with even a small, backyard telescope. Peak brightness is expected next week, when it comes within 7.3 million miles of Earth, or about 30 times the distance to the Moon. There is no threat to Earth, however.

This is the brightest comet ever detected in X-rays. The comet is so close that astronomers are hoping to determine not only the composition of the comet but also of the solar wind. Scientists think that atomic particles that comprise the solar wind interact with comet material to produce X-rays, a theory that Swift might prove true.

Three world-class X-ray observatories now in orbit---NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European-led XMM-Newton, and the Japanese-led Suzaku---will observe the comet in the coming weeks. Like a scout, Swift has provided information to these larger facilities about what to look for. This type of observation can only take place in the X-ray waveband.

"The Schwassmann-Wachmann comet is a comet like no other," said Scott Porter of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., part of the Swift observation team. "During its 1996 passage it broke apart. Now we are tracking about three dozen fragments. The X-rays being produced provide information never before revealed."

user posted image
Image above: Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is the brightest comet ever detected in the X-ray band. This NASA Swift image shows the comet in X-rays as it moves closer to the Earth on its orbit around the sun (at a safe distance millions of miles away). The white speck is the near the comet core; the yellow and bright red areas show the comet's halo and tail. Scientists hope to learn about the composition of the comet and of the solar wind, which interacts with the comet to make X-rays. This is a rare opportunity because certain key information about the comet and solar wind is seen only via spectral lines in X-ray energies. As the comet moves closer to the Earth and sun, other X-ray satellites will observe the comet in detail. Note that the X-rays are to the left of the nucleus (towards the sun) because they are produced by interactions with the solar wind. + High res (628 Kb) Credit: NASA/Swift/XRT/U. Leicester/Richard Willingale

The situation is reminiscent of the Deep Impact probe, which penetrated comet Tempel 1 about a year ago. This time, nature itself has broken the comet. Because Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is much closer to both the Earth and the sun than Tempel 1 was, it currently appears about 20 times brighter in X-rays. Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 passes Earth about every five years. Scientists could not anticipate how bright it would become in X-rays this time around.

"The Swift observations are amazing," said Greg Brown of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., who led the proposal for Swift observation time. "Because we are viewing the comet in X-rays, we can see many unique features. The combined results of data from several premier orbiting observatories will be spectacular."

Swift is primarily a gamma-ray burst detector. The satellite also has X-ray and ultraviolet/optical telescopes. Because of its burst-hunting ability to turn rapidly, Swift has been able to track the progress of the fast-moving Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 comet. Swift is the first observatory to simultaneously observe the comet in both ultraviolet light and X-rays. This cross comparison is crucial for testing theories about comets.

Swift and the other three X-ray observatories plan to combine forces to observe Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 closely. Through a technique called spectroscopy, scientists hope to determine the chemical structure of the comet. Already Swift has detected oxygen and hints of carbon. These elements are from the solar wind, not the comet.

Scientists think that X-rays are produced through a process called charge exchange, in which highly (and positively) charged particles from the sun that lack electrons steal electrons from chemicals in the comet. Typical comet material includes water, methane and carbon dioxide. Charge exchange is analogous to the tiny spark seen in static electricity, only at a far greater energy.

By comparing the ratio of X-ray energies emitted, scientists can determine the content of the solar wind and infer the content of the comet material. Swift, Chandra, XMM-Newton and Suzaku each provide complementary capabilities to nail down this tricky measurement. The combination of these observations will provide a time evolution of the X-ray emission of the comet as it navigates through our solar system.

Porter and his colleagues at Goddard and Lawrence Livermore tested the charge exchange theory in an earthbound laboratory in 2003. That experiment, at Livermore's EBIT-I electron beam ion trap, produced a complex spectrograph of intensity versus X-ray energy for a variety of expected elements in the solar wind and comet. "We are anxious to compare nature's laboratory to the one we created," Porter said.

The German-led ROSAT mission, now decommissioned, was the first to detect X-rays from a comet, from Hyakutake in 1996. This was a great surprise. It took about five years before scientists had a suitable explanation for X-ray emission. Now, ten years after Hyakutake, scientists could settle the mystery.

Christopher Wanjek
Goddard Space Flight Center


Source: NASA/GSFC - Swift

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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