The Hubble space telescope has captured a detailed image of the coma of comet NEOWISE, which has become the brightest comet in the Northern sky for the past twenty years. The images show two curving jets ejected from the surface of the comet's core into a coma, and the size of the core itself does not exceed five kilometres, according to the Observatory's website.
Comet C / 2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered on March 27, 2020, by the WISE infrared space telescope (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer), and on July 3 it passed another perihelion, ending up at a minimum distance of 43 million kilometres from the Sun, as a result of which its orbit changed slightly. The comet's approach to Earth at a distance of 103.5 million kilometres took place on July 23, 2020. at the moment, it is moving away from the Sun at a speed of about 60 kilometres per second and will return again in seven thousand years.
C / 2020 F3 (NEOWISE) became the brightest comet visible in the sky of The earth's Northern hemisphere, after comet Hale-Bopp in 1997, and has long been one of the main observation targets for both Amateur astronomers, ground-based and space observatories such as SOHO and Parker, and even astronauts on the ISS. And on August 8, 2020, the comet was the target of new observations by the Hubble space telescope, which examined its cometary of gas and dust.
Analysis of images obtained by the telescope showed that the comet's core did not collapse as a result of its approach to the Sun, and its size is no more than 4.8 kilometres across. The size of the cloud of gas and dust surrounding the core is about 18 thousand kilometres in diameter, it is noticeable two conical jets formed as a result of the sublimation of ice in the core of the comet, gradually turning into wider fan-shaped structures due to the rotation of the core. In the future, scientists hope to use the telescope to understand how the comet's activity changes as it moves away from the Sun, and to determine the size of the dust particles that make up the coma.
Photos: NASA, ESA, Q. Zhang (California Institute of Technology), A. Pagan (STScI)