Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hartley 2: a very strange comet

Comet Hartley 2, officially known as 103P/Hartley, visits the inner solar system about every 6.5 years. The comet was discovered in 1986 and received a visit from a NASA mission, Epoxi, in 2010.

Though the comets visits the Sun frequently, it's a very active small body. NASA has called Hartley 2 a "weird little comet", and one NASA astronomer characterized Hartley 2 as "a hyperactive little comet, spewing out more water than most other comets its size."