1931 2004

3

dreamed about you too: Comet and stars, photographed by Hubble Space Telescope, 3rd March 2001.

Comet 74P/Smirnova–Chernykh, photographed 8 (top), 8 (middle), and 6 times (bottom). The camera follows the comet, so the background stars appear to zip past in a blur. Since comets do not randomly change direction, the different apparent motions of the stars was presumably created by Hubble changing orientation between sets.

Smirnova–Chernykh, which has an orbit comparable to outer main-belt asteroids, was discovered by Tamara Smirnova (1935-2001) and Nikolai Chernykh (1931-2004) at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in 1975. Smirnova also discovered 135 asteroids during her career; Chernykh discovered another comet and a staggering 537 asteroids.

Photographed here under Hubble Proposal 8699, by Laurent Lamy of the Observatoire de Paris.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.