Comet 17P/Holmes Hubble image series

These images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveal Comet Holmes's bright core. The images show that the coma, the cloud of dust and gas encircling the comet, is getting fainter over time. The coma was brightest in the 29 Oct. image. It is two times fainter on 31 Oct. and nine times dimmer on 4 Nov. than during the 29 Oct. observation.

The coma is getting fainter because it is expanding. A huge number of small dust particles were created during the 23 Oct. outburst. Since then those particles have been moving away from the nucleus and filling interplanetary space. The coma therefore is becoming more diffuse over time.

The nucleus, however, is still active and is producing a significant amount of new dust. So the region around the nucleus is still much brighter (at least 10 times brighter) than it usually is at this point in the comet's orbit.


NASA,ESA, and H. Weaver (The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:15 November 2007, 15:00
Related releases:heic0718
Size:4600 x 1666 px

About the Object

Type:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Comet
Category:Solar System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
607.1 KB
Publication JPEG
519.7 KB
Screensize JPEG
48.1 KB

Colours & filters

675 nm Hubble Space Telescope
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope

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