In 1986, the European spacecraft Giotto became one of the first spacecraft ever to encounter and photograph the nucleus of a comet, passing and imaging Halley's nucleus as it receded from the sun. Data from Giotto's camera were used to generate this enhanced image of the potato shaped nucleus that measures roughly 15 km across. Some surface features on the dark
Every 76 years Comet Halley returns to the inner solar system and each time the nucleus sheds about a 6-m deep layer of its ice and rock into space. This debris shed from Halley's nucleus eventually disperses into an orbiting trail responsible for the Orionids meteor shower, in October of every year, and the Eta Aquarids meteor shower every May.
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|Image Credit||NASA/ESA/Giotto Project|