This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the sharpest view captured of the breakup of comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS).
The comet was set to be a bright object in the night sky during May 2020, but unfortunately for comet chasers it began to disintegrate in April.
The Earth-orbiting telescope was able to capture about 30 fragments of the comet – each roughly the size of a house – on 20 April 2020.
C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) was discovered in December 2019 by the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) and its break-up was confirmed in April 2020.
Two other comets will be visible in the night sky this month. Click on these links for guides to spotting Comet C/2020 F8 Swan and C/2017 T2 PanSTARRS.
Observatory Hubble Space Telescope
Release date 28 April 2020
Image credit NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA), Q. Ye (University of Maryland)