The Halley Multicolour Camera
Five spacecraft comprised the “Halley Armada” which encountered the comet in spring 1986. The Japanese probes, Suisei and Sakegaki, did not penetrate the comet’s inner coma and did not carry experiments for studying the nucleus. The Vega 1 and 2 spacecraft made encounters on March 6th and 9th, 1986, respectively (Table 1). Just after midnight on March 14th, 1986, the Giotto spacecraft made its closest approach (596 km). The Vega and Giotto spacecraft all carried sophisticated remote sensing experiments for determination of nucleus properties.
Closest approach distance [km]
||Date and time of closest approach||Fly-by velocity [km s-1]||Helio-centric distance [AU]||Phase angle of approach [deg]||Best pixel scale obtained [m px-1]||Comment on imaging systems and data|
|79.2||0.792||134||Out of focus (FWHM=10 px)|
|76.8||0.834||121||Saturated on nucleus||
Little 3-D information
because of reset 9s before closest approach
Deep Space 1
|88.0||47||Some 3-D information through to ?? ; no colour|
Table: Parameters of previous cometary fly-by missions.
Nick Thomas was involved in the data analysis for the Halley Multicolour Camera and took charge of the testing in 1990 which was designed to determine whether HMC was still functional.
You can see some of the HMC scientific publications in our LAPIS area.
Images from Giotto
The HMC data set has been analysed and the results published in book form as an ESA Special Publication. Below, we show a number of pictures from the book in their original digital form.
This area is still under construction but we are hoping to put some archive material about HMC on-line soon.