Impact on Comet 9P/Tempel 1: Update, first European images

Jul 04, 2005
first European images: Deep Impact

These are the first pictures of the impact received by European observers of the Deep Impact encounter.
They were taken by the Faulkes Telescope in Maui, Hawaii (Faulkes Telescope North), which was ideally placed to observe the impact which took place around 07:52 CEST on 4 July.
These images show impact and the flare growing as material is thrown out from the comet. The plume appears to be brightening the nucleus by a factor of approximately ten.

The Faulkes Telescope project owns two research quality telescopes, one on Maui and the other is located in Siding Spring, Australia (Faulkes Telescope South). Each telescope stands 8 metres tall and has a 2-metre diameter primary mirror and a field of view up to 30 arcminutes in diameter.

Deep Impact will provide a glimpse beneath the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged. Mission scientists expect the project will answer basic questions about the formation of the solar system, by offering a better look at the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers known as comets.

ESA's Director of Science, Professor David Southwood, offered his congratulations to NASA's Deep Impact team, on a successful mission to Comet 9P/Tempel-1.

The Deep Impact spacecraft has completed its first steps in exploring a comet's interior by creating a crater with an impactor spacecraft, allowing the mother spacecraft to look deep inside the comet during a fly-by immediately afterwards.

"The Deep Impact mission brought the world together in an excellent opportunity make a new step into the advancement of cometary science," said Prof. Southwood today.

Deep Impact collision


The medium-resolution camera on the NASA Deep Impact's fly-by spacecraft took this image just after 07:52 CEST on Monday, 4 July 2005, during the mission's encounter with Comet 9P/Tempel 1.

"The success of the Deep Impact mission will allowing us to use many space and ground observatories to look for the first time right inside a comet. As ESA, we are proud to be contributing to this campaign with some of our best sky-watchers - our Rosetta comet-chaser spacecraft, the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, as well as Hubble Space Telescope (which we share with NASA) - and with ESA's Optical Ground Station in the Canary Islands. The results are going to be a terrific help in planning Rosetta's comet landing a decade from now."

New data and results on Tempel 1 and the impact will continue to be received in the next hours and days. Follow us while we continue to cover one of the world's largest astronomical observation campaigns, which includes ESA and NASA spacecraft, European observatories and many co-operating organisations around the world.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronomers looking for clues to water's origins

Mar 27, 2014

A gas and dust cloud collapses to form a star. Amid a whirling disc of debris, little bits of rock coated with liquid water and ice begin to stick together. It is this stage of a star's formation that astronomers ...

Explosive volcanoes light up Mercury's deep past

Jan 31, 2014

Mercury has long been a mystery to scientists. Until recently, knowledge of the planet was limited to the grey, patchy landscape revealed by the Mariner 10 probe, NASA's first mission to Mercury in the mid-1970s. ...

Happy 10th anniversary Opportunity

Jan 23, 2014

Ten years ago, on Jan. 24, 2004, the Opportunity rover landed on a flat plain in the southern highlands of the planet Mars and rolled into an impact crater scientists didn't even know existed. The mission ...

Recommended for you

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

6 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

3 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

3 hours ago

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...