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Trajektoria lotu planetoidy 2008 TC3
(c) ESA/Hubble, CC BY 4.0
This artist’s impression depicts the exomoon candidate Kepler-1625b-i, the planet it is orbiting and the star in the centre of the star system. Kepler-1625b-i is the first exomoon candidate and, if confirmed, the first moon to be found outside the Solar System. Like many exoplanets, Kepler-1625b-i was discovered using the transit method. Exomoons are difficult to find because they are smaller than their companion planets, so their transit signal is weak, and their position in the system changes with each transit because of their orbit. This requires extensive modelling and data analysis.
Autor: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA, Licencja: CC BY 2.0
Two new images from Hubble show the doomed comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). Taken on April 20 and 23, 2020, they provide the sharpest views yet of the comet's solid icy nucleus breaking apart into as many as 30 pieces that are each roughly the size of a house.
The comet was discovered on Dec. 29, 2019, by the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) robotic astronomical survey system based in Hawaii. The comet's fragmentation was confirmed by amateur astronomer Jose de Queiroz, who was able to photograph around three pieces of the comet on April 11. With its crisp resolution, Hubble has a front-row seat to look for more pieces. And astronomers weren't disappointed with what it saw.
Scientists know that the comet's nucleus — the fountainhead of the glamorous tail — is a fragile cluster of ices and dust. However, astronomers don't know why some comets break apart like exploding aerial fireworks shells. Could the warming influence of the Sun cause a comet to become unglued as it enters the inner solar system? Or could the icy nucleus spin up as it shoots out jets of warming gases, causing it to fly apart?
The disintegrating comet was approximately 91 million miles (146 million kilometers) from Earth when the latest Hubble observations were taken. If any of it survives, the comet will make its closest approach to Earth on May 23 at a distance of about 72 million miles (116 million kilometers). Eight days later it will skirt past the Sun at 25 million miles (40 million kilometers).
Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA), and Q. Ye (University of Maryland)
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(c) ESO/A. Müller et al., CC BY 4.0
This spectacular image from the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope is the first clear image of a planet caught in the very act of formation around the dwarf star PDS 70. The planet stands clearly out, visible as a bright point to the right of the centre of the image, which is blacked out by the coronagraph mask used to block the blinding light of the central star.
This composite image of the primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 (nicknamed Ultima Thule) – featured on the cover of the May 17 issue of the journal Science – was compiled from data obtained by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft as it flew by the object on Jan. 1, 2019. The image combines enhanced color data (close to what the human eye would see) with detailed high-resolution panchromatic pictures.