New Hubble images of Comet ISON are on the way. Today, Oct. 9, Hubble is taking another round of Comet ISON observations. What kind of condition is the comet in after its long journey across the solar system? Does it look like it'll survive its encounter with the Sun? We should know more soon.
Once the data beams down from Hubble, it'll take a short period to do the initial image processing and understand the results. We take some time to carefully process Hubble data in order to present the best possible information.
Nearly every Hubble observation consists of more than one exposure, and often many more. This makes it possible to remove features in the image that change from exposure to exposure, such as cosmic rays -- high energy particles that hit the camera detectors and create bright spots in the image. Although the data are extremely high quality to begin with, the instruments also introduce features that we are able to minimize through careful processing. By combining several images, we can remove these features and produce a much cleaner image. It does takes some time, though, to ensure that these processes are being done properly.
To produce ...