Hubble Just Caught a Close-Up View of What Flying Into an Active Comet Looks Like
Last month, Comet 252P/LINEAR came within a little over three million miles of earth. This was one of the closest approaches to our planet by a comet ever, and it gave the Hubble telescope an unusual opportunity for a little close range photography. Besides our own moon, this comet is the closest object the Hubble telescope has ever photographed.
That up-close view paid off with the time-lapse you see above showing the nucleus of the comet moving around like, as NASA describes it , a high-powered lawn sprinkler. Although the nucleus measures just one mile across, the comet still manages to kick all manner of interstellar dust in every direction.
Seeing all that internal movement, it's no wonder that-even from so far away-debris from passing comets still makes it through our
atmosphere as meteor showers
. In fact, Comet 252P/LINEAR was so active that, although there's no regular