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Post Info TOPIC: Comet 103P/Hartley 2


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RE: Comet 103P/Hartley 2
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Last night, Earth apparently encountered pieces of an alien visitor, according to scientists.
It seems tiny pieces of Comet Hartley 2 may have presented a spectacular and startling sky show across the country yesterday.

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Malcolm Hartley
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The Man Behind Comet Hartley 2

Over the last 40 years, Malcolm Hartley has done just about every possible job for Siding Spring Observatory's UK Schmidt telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The British-born, Scottish-educated Hartley has logged time as the 1.2 meter telescope's observer, processor, copier, hypersensitisation expert, and quality controller.
On the afternoon of March 16, 1986, Hartley's job was that last one -- quality control. In that role, he was the first to view each 36-by-36 centimetre (14-by-14 inch) photographic glass plate after it had been exposed to the night sky. Checking for imperfections on one of the previous evening's 60-minute illuminations, Hartley came upon something that wasn't supposed to be there.

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RE: Comet 103P/Hartley 2
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Cometary Poison Gas Geyser Heralds Surprises

As NASA's Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe approaches Comet Hartley 2 for a close encounter on Nov. 4th, mission scientists are certain of only one thing:

"We're about to be surprised," says principal investigator Mike A'Hearn of the University of Maryland. "This comet is unlike any we've visited before, and we don't know what we're going to find."

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The NASA/EPOXI team who will be managing and guiding their 3m spacecraft to within 700Km of the nucleus of Comet 103P Hartley/2 are now safely located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California, where the excitement is growing ahead of only the 5th close approach flyby of a comet in history.
Our 2m telescope in Hawaii is now also set and ready for a whole day of imaging this momentous event. As the spacecraft approaches, both Faulkes North and the Epoxi spacecraft will be taking almost continuous images, but in the case of Epoxi, due to the logistics of orientation, will not be able to downlink these until some time after its closest approach.

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AreciboHartley.jpg
Credit: NASA/JPL

Twelve radar images of Comet Hartley 2 taken by the Arecibo Observatory from 25 - 27 October, 2010.


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Space Radar Provides a Taste of Comet Hartley 2

Exactly one week before the world gets a new look at comet Hartley 2 via NASA's EPOXI mission, observations of the comet by the Arecibo Planetary Radar in Puerto Rico have offered scientists a tantalizing preview.
Scientists using Arecibo's massive radar dish began observations of Hartley 2 on Oct. 24, just four days after the comet made its closest approach to Earth since its discovery in 1986. (On Oct. 20, the comet came within 17.7 million kilometres, or 11 million miles, of Earth). The observations are scheduled to continue through Friday, Oct. 29.

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On Oct 16th, a pair of NASA all-sky cameras caught an unusual fireball streaking across the night sky over Alabama and Georgia. It was bright, slow, andhere's what made it unusual - strangely similar to a fireball that passed over eastern Canada less than five hours earlier. The Canadian fireball was recorded by another set of all-sky cameras operated by the University of Western Ontario (UWO). Because the fireballs were recorded by multiple cameras, it was possible to triangulate their positions and backtrack their orbits before they hit Earth. This led to a remarkable conclusion:
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NASA Hosts Media Teleconference To Preview Comet Encounter

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PDT on Tuesday Oct. 26, to preview the EPOXI mission's upcoming flyby and study of the comet Hartley 2. The Nov. 4 encounter will provide the best, extended view of a comet in history.
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Scientists used Suprime-Cam at Subaru Telescope to catch the comet 103P/Hartley after long shut down of the telescope. This summer Subaru Telescope underwent primary mirror recoating, modification to its top, overhauling of many actuators, and so on. Since the distance to the comet from the Earth is small and the apparent movement of the comet on the sky is large, non-sidereal tracking was used during this observation based on the orbital parameters of the comet. This image is composed from the dataset of three different filters; g'-band (480nm), r'-band (620nm), and z'-band (900nm), and colour coding is allotted for blue, green, and red, respectively. Since the comet was moving from the lower right to the upper left compared with the background stars, each background star appears as triple points with three colours along the direction of the comet movement.
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Comet Hartley 2
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Lucky skygazers may catch a glimpse of a small, green comet this week as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 24 years.
Last night Hartley 2 passed within 11 million miles - much closer than the Earth is to the sun. It should be visible to the unaided eye in dark skies in the hours before dawn but will be best viewed using binoculars.
Nasa's Deep Impact spacecraft is chasing Hartley 2,  and is hoping to make a flyby on November 4th when it will pass within 435 miles of the comet.

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