NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed the inner core surrounding the icy nucleus of Comet Levy more clearly than can be done with ground-based telescopes.
The image was taken with the HST's Wide Field/Planetary Camera, when the comet was at a distance of about 160,000,000 kilometres from Earth.
In this 4-second exposure of the comet, taken through an infrared filter, most of what can be seen is sunlight reflected from solid grains of cometary dust, carried outward by gas expanding from the icy nucleus as it is warmed by the Sun. The resulting 'coma' is brightest in a fan-shaped region on the sunlit side of the nucleus.
The image has been computer processed to provide good visibility of the central condensation of the coma. The central region is enlarged four-fold In the picture on the right side.