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Hubble Space Telescope Image of
Comet Hyakutake

Hubble Hyakutake Image (full-frame) The above image of Hyakutake was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope early on March 26th, shortly after the time of the comet's closest approach to Earth. The whole frame is less than 1800 miles across and each picture element, or pixel, in this image corresponds to a distance slightly less than 5 miles at the comet. The direction to the Sun is at the 4:30 position, and the tail is at the 10:30 position. Most of the cometary dust is being ejected into the sunward-facing hemisphere, but the dust particles are eventually turned around by solar radiation pressure and pushed into the tail. If you look carefully at the upper left region of the image, you can see some pieces of the comet that broke off and which are now moving down the tail.

(back to Hale-Bopp & Hyakutake essay)

Photo: H. A. Weaver, Johns Hopkins University, his HST observing team, and NASA

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