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Emily LakdawallaNovember 1, 2010

Deep Impact movies of outbursts from Hartley 2

Since comet Hartley 2 -- the target of Deep Impact's November 4 flyby -- is near its perihelion, it's no surprise that it's an active comet with lots of outbursts. Even though I know that, it's really exciting to see jets flaring out from the comet from a spacecraft that's tracking its every move, about to fly within a few hundred kilometers of its nucleus. The Deep Impact team released two videos this evening of this outburst activity on October 26 and 27.

The two videos, embedded below, cover the same period of time, spanning 16 hours. The top one was taken by the High-Resolution Imager (HRI), the bottom one by the Medium-Resolution Imager (MRI). The HRI has a field of view only 1/5 the breadth of the MRI, but it sees more detail, once its blurry images are "deconvolved" (de-blurred). In both videos, the left panel shows the original data; the right panel has had an average image of the comet removed, which emphasizes the transient jets. There are two jets. You can see them move, as they're carried around the comet by its rotation. Cooooool.

I can't wait to get closer!

Read more: pretty pictures, comets, Deep Impact, mission status, comet Hartley 2, animation

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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