Monday, July 04, 2005

Deep Impact

At 05:52 UT Jul 4 (22:52 PDT Jul 3rd at JPL), the 372 kg impactor released from Deep Impact probe successfully smashed into Comet 9P/Tempel 1...

A view from JPL of the Deep Impact's flyby showing the impactor colliding with comet 9P/Tempel 1. (22:52 PDT, July 3)

Update: Post-impact images are starting to come in from the ground based observatories, and from the spacecraft itself...

This image shows the initial ejecta that resulted when Deep Impact probe collided with comet 9P/Tempel 1 at 22:52 PDT, July 3. It was taken by the spacecraft's high-resolution camera 13 seconds after impact.

A. Fitzimmons and the Maui Deep Impact Workshop students and educators
The Faulkes Telescope North can clearly see the expanding ejecta in the coma. Above is an image obtained by dividing an R-band image obtained at 08:35 UT by an earlier one taken at 06:24 UT. Positive (bright) pixels show the enhancement in R-band brightness in the inner coma at 08:35 UT. Image size is 85×62 arcsec, the apparent enhancement has a maximum brightness 2.5 arcsec from the center of the comet.

Update: The International Herald Tribune has some local colour from out here in Hawaii, while the New Scientist takes a more in-depth look at the impact.