Comet Tempel Flyby

The Stardust-NExT probe flew to within 112 miles of Comet Tempel I on February 14, taking a series of photos of the comet. Comet Tempel had previously been visited by a NASA spacecraft in 2005, when Deep Impact collided with the comet. This is the first time a comet has been revisited after a complete orbit. Photos have shown that erosion has changed the face of the comet, but the impact crater left by Deep Impact appears to have partially healed itself.

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Visit to a Small Comet

Deep Impact passed within 700 km (435 miles) of Comet Hartley 2 on November 4, returning pictures of the comet’s head which show the object to be shaped like a bowling pin. Comet Hartley 2 is about 1.6 km (1 mile) long. Deep Impact took several thousand images during its fly-by. This is the second cometary fly-by for Deep Impact, which had a fly-by and dropped an impactor on Comet Tempel 1 in 2005.

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Smashing Jupiter

Anthony Wesley, an amateur astronomer from Murrumbateman, Australia noticed a strange marking on Jupiter and contacted NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which confirmed that Wesley had discovered the aftermath of an impact of some item on Jupiter’s atmosphere, the first time this has happened since Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in 1994. NASA believes the impact may have been a comet, which left a black spot on Jupiter, but hasn’t confirmed it yet.

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