This picture shows the nucleus of Comet Wild 2. The nucleus is shown from two different angles. Stardust took the pictures at different times as if flew by. Stardust was about 500 km (311 miles) from the nucleus when it took the picture on the left.
Click on image for full size
Images courtesy NASA/JPL.
Nucleus of Comet Wild 2
The pictures on this page show the nucleus of
a comet. These are the best pictures
ever made of the nucleus of a comet. The nucleus of a comet is a big lump
of ice and dust. This one is about five
kilometers (3.1 miles) wide.
When we see a bright comet from Earth, we don't see the nucleus. Something
that is a few kilometers (miles) across probably seems pretty big to you.
But in space something that size if really quite small. When we see a comet
from Earth, we see the coma and tails of the comet. Those parts of a comet
are much, much bigger than the nucleus.
These two pictures were taken by a spacecraft named Stardust. Stardust
flew by a comet named Wild 2. It took these pictures as it flew by. Stardust
took these pictures at different times, so it was looking at different
sides of the comet each time. That is why the pictures look a little different.
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