Hubble Space Telescope has just captured the 'crumbling moment of Comet Atlas'
Comet Atlas has been identified as the brightest comet that humans can see from the northern hemisphere, before being overtaken by two other young comets, Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake since the mid-1990s. century ago. Now, Comet Atlas has completely broken into dozens of large pieces, ending its famous life.
In that moment, the Hubble Space Telescope captured the two explosive moments of this comet on April 20 and April 23. These 2 photos immediately became "treasures" that received a lot of attention from space scientists and astronomy community around the world.
The first image shows a total of 30 large and small fragments, clearly showing the nucleus (main part) of the comet. In the second photo, 25 pieces of ice and ice were captured, each of which is about the same size as a normal house or slightly larger.
"The appearance of Comet Atlas changes dramatically after two days, so it is difficult to identify and connect the debris (dots) that you see on the image. They are able to glow thanks to reflection. sunlight, "said David Jewitt, professor of planetary science and astronomy at UCLA.
Before its official collapse and disappear, this comet (official name: C / 2019 Y4 (ATLAS)) is thought to have a diameter of up to 200 meters (660 feet).
This is an interesting and extremely useful observation for astronomers, because such events do not occur often and are very valuable for research. "The comet's crumbling moments are often difficult to observe because they are so dim, but the case of Comet Atlas is the exception. Events of such scale only occur once or twice a decade , " said Chi Chi. Ye, an astronomer at the University of Maryland, College Park, said.
For now, astronomers are still unable to pinpoint exactly what caused Comet Atlas to break into pieces - most likely due to the sudden release of gas that occurred when it approached the sun, thereby causing cracking, breaking and exploding. Further studies of Hubble's observations can reveal details of how comets end their lives.
According to calculations, the remnants of Comet Atlas will reach Earth at the nearest distance (116 million km) on 23/5 to here. Eight days later, they will reach the Sun at a distance of 40 million km and "ash".
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