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 picture on this page shows the best views ever of the nucleus of a
comet. It shows two pictures of the comet's nucleus that were taken at
slightly different times. The pictures were taken by a spacecraft named
Stardust flew by a comet named Wild
2 in January 2004. Stardust was a
little bit further away from the comet when it took these pictures than
the Space Shuttle is from Earth when it is in orbit.
The nucleus of a comet is a lump of ice and dust. The nucleus of Comet
Wild 2 is about five
kilometers (3.1 miles) wide. That may seem pretty big to you, but the nucleus
is very small compared to the rest of the comet. When we see a bright comet
from Earth, we are looking at the much larger coma and tails of the comet.
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