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Comet Wirtanen as seen by the VLT

Comet Wirtanen as seen by the VLT


Copyright: ESO PR Photo 06a/02 may be reproduced, if credit is given to the European Southern Observatory (ESO)

This image (ESO PR Photo 06a/02) shows a false-colour composite image of the nucleus of Comet Wirtanen, recorded on 9 December 2001, with the FORS2 multi-mode instrument at the 8.2-m VLT YEPUN Unit Telescope. It is based on four exposures and since the telescope was set to track the motion of the comet in the sky, the images of stars in the field are seen as four consecutive trails. The image of the comet's 'dirty snowball' nucleus is star-like, no surrounding gas or dust is seen and the measured brightness indicates that the diameter is about 1 km. The distance to the comet from the Earth was approximately 534 million km.

ESO PR Photo 06a/02 may be reproduced, if credit is given to the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Last Update: 1 September 2019
20-Jun-2024 13:04 UT

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