4 November 2010

First EPOXI Images!

Posted by Ryan Anderson

The flyby of Hartley 2 was a success and the first images are coming down! Check them out at the EPOXI site. In the highest-res images so far you can see that the comet has a distinct peanut-like shape and is very smooth around the narrow point. it looks to me like this may have been two separate objects that are stuck together by mutual gravity, with fine-grained debris filling in the gap between then. The other obvious things are the jets of gas! it’s interesting that they seem to be coming mostly from the rugged ends of the comet, not the smooth “waist”. I’m looking forward to hearing what the comet experts think!

Cropped image of comet Hartley 2 taken during the EPOXI flyby. Check out those jets!

Update: Emily has put together an insightful post about the images along with an excellent animation:

Credit: NASA / JPL / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla