Thursday, 3 October 2013

Does this Photo show jets on Ison?

On Tuesday Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martinao Nicolini of the Ramanzacco Observatory in Italy managed to capture the image below using the 2 metre Liverpool telescope. One of the images appear to show what is maybe a jet from Ison. Jets are formed as a comet approaches our Sun, it begins to heat up and the ice begins to change from a solid to a gas with no liquid stage. Some of the dust is left behind as the ice melts. The dust forms a dark, protective crust on the surface of the nucleus (head) and slows the melting. In some places this layer is thinner, which allows jets of gas to burst through.

Ison captured with Mars Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martinao Nicolini at the Ramanzacco Observatory, Italy.

The image is a stack of twenty, 11 second exposures and clearly shows Ison developing coma and tail which is now estimated to measure at least 3 arc minutes. This is a very promising sign that Ison is developing into the comet we have been hoping for.
Talking about the image Nick Howes said: "There was some debate as to the existence of additional jet structures on the comet. Our data analysis seems to show that some reports of this were possibly spurious, however, our one process does seem to show a possible small jet, which a 2m class instrument would be able to detect. Our analysis is undergoing additional review and peer checking with our collaborators in the USA. The scientific analysis of this comet and its inner coma is ongoing, and being monitored closely."
The team at the Ramanzacco observatory have sent the images and data to the Planetary Science Institute for further analysis, and we hope to bring an update later today!

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