Watch: NASA’s Hubble Telescope Captures the Disintegration of Comet ATLAS into Dozens of Pieces
Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI and D. Jewitt (UCLA)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Hubble Space Telescope has been keeping a close track of comet ATLAS for quite some time now. This month, the telescope has captured some of the rare interstellar processes that have left the astronomers stunned.
As reported by NASA, Hubble has been front seat observer of the celestial event when the comet disintegrated into more than two dozen process as it approaches the Sun. The space agency has published a detailed note on the event and the breaking of comet ATLAS.
The comet C/2019 Y4, popularly known as ATLAS, was first discovered on December 29, 2019. It was tracked by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). As the comet moved towards the inner solar system, it got brighter. In fact, it is expected that people would have been able to see it through naked eyes on Earth when it was supposed to pass through our planet in May.
However, all the chances of observing this event have gone in vain. The comet began to fade starting the month of April. After astronomer Jose de Queiroz informed about the disintegration process on April 11, the eyes of Hubble telescope were moved on the comet.
According to NASA, there were two images taken of the comet on April 20 and 23. While the first image shows the comet to be breaking into around 30 pieces, the second picture captured 25 pieces. The fragments are covered into cometary dust.