* Astronomy

Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
RE: Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Permalink  
 


This infrared image from the 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.


Expand (84kb, 900x720)
The image was taken from May 4 to May 6 by Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer, using its 24-micron wavelength channel.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)


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.

Source

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Just a reminder to say that the primary (C) mass of comet 73P will pass near the Ring Nebula (M 57)tonight (May 7/8).


Position(2000): RA 18:54; Dec 33:02

The event is best seen from Asia, Europe and eastern parts of North America. Elsewhere, the event can also be seen but the position of the comet will be slightly further from the nebula.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 19:44, 2006-05-07

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

In April of this year, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope captured an image of the shattered comet on its way back to the inner solar system. The infrared picture provides the best look yet at the crumbling comet's trail of debris, seen as a bridge connecting the larger fragments.


Expand (151kb, 900 x 621)
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.
It was taken on April 1, 2006, by Spitzer's multi-band imaging photometer using the 24-micron wavelength channel.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/W.


The new image is a tantalising preview of a much larger picture Spitzer will obtain during observations on May 4 to 6, 2006. The telescope's super sensitive infrared eyes will have an unprecedented view of the debris stretching between larger comet chunks.

Source

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Astronomers will have a ringside seat during the coming weeks as a dying comet with a tongue-twisting name flies past the Earth and literally falls apart in front of their eyes.
Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is buzzing the Earth -- closer than any comet in 23 years. It's gliding by as close as 5.5 million miles away, barely 20 times the moon's distance from the Earth.
Even better for scientists, SW3's icy nucleus is coming undone like the seeds of a dandelion in a stiff wind, revealing the physical and chemical secrets of its interior.

Astronomers have counted at least 59 (Ed - +) fragments already, and there's no end in sight.

Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has now broken up into at least 61 observable fragments...

Web link:

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

A new magnitude 17 component of Comet 73P has appeared about 10 minutes west of R which is about 1.0 - 1.5 mag fainter than R and it does not show much of a tail.

 
73Prr C2006 05 02.07747 16 01 54.63 +36 40 21.3 17.2 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.08740 16 02 00.11 +36 40 55.8 16.9 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.09706 16 02 05.45 +36 41 28.5 16.8 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.11623 16 02 16.04 +36 42 34.7 16.7 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.12584 16 02 21.28 +36 43 07.6 16.6 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.13546 16 02 26.54 +36 43 40.3 16.7 N
73Prr C2006 05 02.14987 16 02 34.40 +36 44 30.3 16.7 N


__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 



__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

73P-C/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Date(TT)  R.A. (2000) Decl.   Delta     r    Elong.  mag   
Apr. 29 16 24.82 31 5.0 0.140 1.096 126 6.1
May 6 18 5.24 33 46.1 0.096 1.048 111 5.0


73P-B/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Date(TT)  R.A. (2000) Decl.   Delta     r    Elong.  mag   
Apr. 29 15 48.73 33 31.3 0.145 1.102 128 8.1
May 6 17 8.68 39 9.0 0.097 1.054 115 6.8


73P-G/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Date(TT)  R.A. (2000) Decl.   Delta     r    Elong.  mag   
Apr. 29 15 42.40 33 52.8 0.146 1.104 128 10.3
May 6 16 57.98 39 55.4 0.097 1.056 116 9.2


__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

The Hubble Space Telescope is providing astronomers with extraordinary views of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.

The fragile comet is rapidly disintegrating as it approaches the Sun. 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. The comet is currently a chain of over three dozen separate fragments, named alphabetically, stretching across the sky by several times the angular diameter of the Moon.


Expand (198kb, 1300 x 1000)
Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 - Fragments B, G. Ground-based colour composite image made with a 8" f/1.5 Schmidt Camera on April 21, 2006.

Hubble caught two of the fragments (B and G) shortly after large outbursts in activity.


Expand (181kb, 800 x 800)
Hubble image of 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 fragment B on April 20, 2006.

Hubble shows several dozen "mini-comets” trailing behind each main fragment, probably associated with the ejection of house-sized chunks of surface material. Deep-freeze relics of the early solar system, cometary nuclei are porous and fragile mixes of dust and ices that can break apart due to the thermal, gravitational, and dynamical stresses of approaching the Sun. Whether any of the many fragments survive the trip around the Sun remains to be seen in the weeks ahead.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 20:36, 2006-04-27

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

ESO says that Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has crumbled into nearly 40 fragments, and even more fragmentation is likely by the time the iceballs stream past Earth in May 11-14.


Credit ESO

__________________
«First  <  1 2 3 4  >  Last»  | Page of 4  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.



Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard