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73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann (continued)

Fragments nearby 73P-H and 73P-N

Seven individual fragments of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann are visible here, in a set of exposures taken to record  H & N. Five of the seven have (as of 21 May 2006) been officially designated letters, with 73P-BO, BP and BQ being announced on 06 May 2006 in MPEC 2006-J31. As can be seen from the next image (2 days later) the magnitudes and appearance of the components are changing rapidly and the two undesignated fragments may not have lasted long enough to be observed again.

Fragments near N  28 Apr 2006

Here seven fragments are again visible, but the field of view is aligned slightly to the west of the image above. The very diffuse fragment 73P-M to the east (above) is now out of view but the bright component 73P-BP not recorded on 28 Apr 2006 is now in view on the west side. One fragment recorded well on Apr 28 is now only just hinted at with a magnitude of +21.5 (between 73P-BQ and BP).

Fragments near N  30 Apr 2006

Fragments near H & N seen in the two images above can be made out  in a small region of the image of 73P taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope. Note that the Spitzer image was taken about 1 week later than the images above and from a point some distance from Earth (see here) so the perspective is slightly different.
Spitzer Space Telescope close-up of Comet 73P near fragments H & N
Fragments 73P-AP and 73P-BC

The main image of 73P-AP and 73P-BC has been processed to bring out the coma and very faint tail of 73P-AP but at the expense of losing detail in the bright coma of 73P-BC. The inset shows 73P-BC adjusted to reveal several condensations within the coma.

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann Main page
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann Spitzer main page
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann Summary of fragments page

Spitzer Space Telescope image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)

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