A disintegrating comet

NASA, ESA and David Jewitt/UCLA

These Hubble Space Telescope images show the migration of building-sized chunks of comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami. The comet is disintegrating as it approaches the sun. The image at the top shows the main nucleus of comet 332P at the lower left together with a wayward cloud of pieces of the comet which broke off between October and December 2015. Hubble spied the debris in January 2016. The object at the upper right results from an earlier split that probably occurred in 2012. The image at the bottom was made from multiple exposures taken over three days, Jan. 26-28, 2016, with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. Arrows show the direction of the slowly moving comet pieces.

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