Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact
About an hour after its closest approach of Hartley 2, Deep Impact downlinked five precious images taken during the nearest part of its flyby. The top two images were taken 82 and 16 seconds before closest approach, and the bottom three 18, 57, and 117 seconds after closest approach (image times are 13:58:07, 13:59:13, 13:59:47, 14:00:26, and 14:01:26 UTC on November 4). They show a very active comet with numerous jets. The comet's nucleus has two lobes. The lobe ends are noticeably lumpy. The lobes are connected by a thin waist that is much smoother. In the images taken after closest approach under more dramatic lighting, one can see comet jets that originate on the night side of the comet and rise into sunlight.