Nucleus of Comet Borrelly

Nucleus of Comet Borrelly

. A camera on board the Deep Space 1 spacecraft peered into the icy heart of Comet Borrelly on 22 September 2001, taking this image from a distance of 3.4 million meters. The nucleus is shaped like a gigantic bowling pin, with a length of about 8 kilometers and a width of roughly half that size. A dark veneer of material covers most of the nucleus, reflecting only 4 percent of the incident sunlight on average. Rugged terrain is found on both ends of the nucleus, while bright smooth plains are present in the middle. Jets of gas and dust shot out from all sides of the cometís nucleus as it rotated, producing a flow of ions that was not centered on the nucleus. (Courtesy of NASA and JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University