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Latest 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann Stories

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2010-04-01 07:35:00

13,000 years ago the Earth was struck by thousands of Tunguska-sized cometary fragments over the course of an hour, leading to a dramatic cooling of the planet, according to astronomer Professor Bill Napier of the Cardiff University Astrobiology Center. He presents his new model in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The cooling, by as much as 8°C, interrupted the warming which was occurring at the end of the last ice age and caused glaciers to readvance....

6226a859b484773ec2afaa0397910eff1
2008-12-03 17:30:00

NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Explorer satellite rocketed into space in 2004 on a mission to study some of the highest-energy events in the universe. The spacecraft has detected more than 380 gamma-ray bursts, fleeting flares that likely signal the birth of a black hole in the distant universe. In that time, Swift also has observed 80 exploding stars and studied six comets.Comets? ... Comets are "dirty snowballs" made of frozen gases mixed with dust. X-rays come from superhot plasmas. What do cold...

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2007-11-15 09:05:11

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has probed the bright core of Comet 17P/Holmes, which, to the delight of sky watchers, mysteriously brightened by nearly a millionfold in a 24-hour period beginning Oct. 23, 2007. Astronomers used Hubble's powerful resolution to study Comet Holmes' core for clues about how the comet brightened. The orbiting observatory's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) monitored the comet for several days, snapping images on Oct. 29, Oct. 31, and Nov. 4. Hubble's crisp...

2006-05-19 09:55:41

The continuing disintegration of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has allowed ESA scientists to see into the interior of the comet. Using a revolutionary camera attached to the ESA Optical Ground Station on Tenerife, they have followed the detailed twists and turns of various comet fragments. The superconducting camera, SCAM, is an ultra fast photon counting camera, developed by ESA. It is cooled to just 300 thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. This enables its sensitive electronic...

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2006-05-10 17:40:00

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...

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2006-04-27 13:15:42

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is providing astronomers with extraordinary views of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, which is falling apart right before our eyes. 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. Amateur and professional astronomers around the world have been tracking for years the spectacular disintegration of...

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2006-04-25 15:10:00

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...

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2006-03-24 17:10:00

A cometary "string-of-pearls" will fly past Earth in May closer than any comet has come in almost 80 years. NASA -- In 1995, Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 did something unexpected: it fell apart. For no apparent reason, the comet's nucleus split into at least three "mini-comets" flying single file through space. Astronomers watched with interest, but the view was blurry even through large telescopes. "73P" was a hundred and fifty million miles away. We're about to get a much closer look....

2005-07-04 00:50:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the dramatic effects of the collision early July 4 between comet 9P/Tempel 1 and an 820-pound projectile released by the Deep Impact spacecraft. A sequence of images is available online at http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2005/17/ and http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2005/17/image/a Time-lapse video images are available at http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2005/17/video/...

2005-06-27 17:10:34

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The volatile nucleus of comet Tempel1 blew off a stream of dust that was captured in an image bythe Hubble Space Telescope, scientists said on Monday. The dust jet could be a preview of what astronomers see onJuly 4, when NASA's Deep Impact space probe is set to collidewith the comet, giving the first glimpse inside the heart of acomet, the scientists said in a statement. The collision on the comet could cause a similar dust plumeon Tempel 1's surface. Hubble...