Click on the image for the animation
This movie consists of images of Comet Hartley 2 taken by the EPOXI mission's Medium-Resolution Instrument from Oct. 15 to 24, 2010. During this time, the spacecraft -- which is headed to the comet for a flyby on Nov. 4 -- went from being 21 million kilometers away (13 million miles) from its target to 12 million kilometers (7 million miles) away. The movie shows Hartley 2 moving across the background field of stars. The coma, or cloud of gas and dust around the comet, expands and brightens over this time period. There are small pauses and jumps in the movie every 24 hours.