Credit & Copyright: Olivier Hainaut (IoA, Hawaii) and Richard West (ESO), 3.5-m New Technology Telescope, European Southern ObservatoryExplanation: This March 19th false-color picture of Comet Hyakutake from one of the most sophisticated ground based telescopes captures the area surrounding the comet's nucleus. A comet's nucleus - not directly visible here - is a solid dirty iceball probably no more than 10 kilometers across. This image shows, for the first time, features of irregular brightness in the coma surrounding the nucleus. The beginning of the ion tale is visible as the bright feature emanating from the right, approaching about 1000 km from nucleus. At the distance of the comet, the whole field captured here is roughly the size of the Earth. If it's clear, Comet Hyakutake may be easily visible tonight!
Scale of the Universe Debate in April 1996
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: comet - comet Hyakutake - nucleus
Publications with words: comet - comet Hyakutake - nucleus