- nemesis maturity
Hubble Space Telescope images of comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), taken on April 20 and April 23, 2020, provide the sharpest views yet of the breakup of the solid nucleus of the comet. Hubble’s eagle-eye view identifies as many as 30 separate fragments. Astronomers aren’t sure why this comet broke apart. The comet was approximately 91 million miles (146 million kilometers) from Earth when the images were taken. Hubble identified about 30 fragments on April 20, and 25 pieces on April 23. They are all enveloped in a sunlight-swept tail of cometary dust.
“Their appearance changes substantially between the two days, so much so that it’s quite difficult to connect the dots,” said David Jewitt, professor of planetary science and astronomy at UCLA, Los Angeles, and leader of one of two teams that photographed the doomed comet with Hubble. “I don’t know whether this is because the individual pieces are flashing on and off as they reflect sunlight, acting like twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, or because different fragments appear on different days.” The results are evidence that comet fragmentation is actually fairly common, say researchers. Because this happens quickly and unpredictably, astronomers remain largely uncertain about the cause of fragmentation. Hubble’s crisp images may yield new clues to the breakup. According to research results, Hubble distinguishes pieces as small as the size of a house. Before the breakup, the entire nucleus may have been no more than the length of two football fields.
In my humble opinion, the size of the fragments is far more larger than scientists say. As well as the nucleus of the comet, I think it’s much larger too. Of course most of the comet’s debris may be between the size of a house, but what we can see here is that Comet ATLAS has broken up and there are some very large fragments.
Do we have to worry? Let’s listen to the astrophysicist Karl Battams, who has observed hundreds of comets and is a well-known expert in the field:
1. This comet comes nowhere near Earth, and never will.
2. Even if it fragments into a cloud of a billion little comets, there is ZERO chance that any of those pieces will come near Earth.