Meteoroid stream from disintegrating comet

Meteoroid stream from disintegrating comet

Fig. 14.25 . The broken comet Schwassman-Wachmann 3 moves along a trail of debris formed during its multiple trips around the Sun, which the comet circles every 5.4 years. In 1995 the comet broke apart, and two of the biggest fragments are shown here, as miniature comets, together with about 36 smaller fragments. The line bridging the large comet fragments is the meteor stream of dust, pebbles and rocks left in the cometís wake during numerous previous journeys. This infrared image was taken on 4 to 6 May 2006 from the Spitzer Space Telescope. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University