See the stunning image gallery of Comet Hartley 2

Visit the NASA image gallery of Comet Hartley 2. This small comet – which was visible in our skies earlier this fall – spewed lots of dust, spinning jets and gas.

The Deep Impact (EPOXI) spacecraft flew within 435 miles of Comet Hartley 2 earlier this month (November 4) and captured some great images of the comet – like nothing seen before.

Click here to view the image gallery.

This NASA probe first gained fame in July 2005, when it shot a projectile into Comet 9P/Tempel 1, then studied the kicked-up debris to see what this comet was made of. Now it has taken thousands of photos of Comet Hartley 2. Go you spacecraft!

After 2005, Deep Impact had been given the additional name EPOXI, a contraction of Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation. Although four comets (Halley, Tempel 1, Borrelly and Wild 2) have been studied with spacecraft thus far, NASA scientists were particularly excited about Comet Hartley 2.

As it came close to our sun and Earth, this small comet displayed much more activity than the others, spewing forth lots of dust, spinning jets and gas. Hence this stunning gallery of images – Comet Hartley 2 – up close and personal.

Deborah Byrd