The Hubble space telescope has spotted something not far from Earth that is quite amazing.
Sparkling objects 67 million miles from Earth has caught the attention of scientists, who have captured them in unprecedented details using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The images show a comet slowly breaking apart, shedding large chunks of ice and dust behind it.
Comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami was discovered in 2010 by two amateur Japanese astronomers, who the comet is named after. Hubble took pictures over a three-day period in January 2016 showing 25 blocks of ice and dust slowly departing the comet, according to a statement from NASA.
The comet is believed to be 4.5 billion years old, and is spinning so fast that it is throwing material away from it, forming its 3,000-mile-long tail — which would stretch all the way across the continental United States.
The photos show the comet shards dimming and brightening as they catch sunlight. They make up about 4 percent of the comet and are between 65 and 200 feet wide. The comet itself is about 1,600 feet across.
“We know that comets sometimes disintegrate, but we don’t know much about why or how they come apart,” explained lead researcher David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles. “The trouble is that it happens quickly and without warning, and so we don’t have much chance to get useful data. With Hubble’s fantastic resolution, not only do we see really tiny, faint bits of the comet, but we can watch them change from day to day. And that has allowed us to make the best measurements ever obtained on such an object.”