Deep Impact - We did it!!!
Bonnie J. Walters
Outside a thick fog blankets everything! That's the curse we have with our July weather in Camarillo. Since I couldn't drag my telescope outside the next best thing was watching the Deep Impact fireworks on NASA TV via the Internet. The whole family gathered around the computer listening to the countdown of events. It was spectacular!
In a follow-up to last night's article, Deep Impact was right on target and picture perfect. The impactor was released and everything went like clockwork. Three trajectory maneuvers were executed to bring the impactor to its target near the south side of Comet Tempel 1. Being near this side gave the flyby spacecraft a bird's eye view of the explosion and crater formation. Images from the impactor prior to impact are astoundingly clear – remember the comet is moving at 23,000 miles per hour. Upon seeing the first images from the flyby spacecraft after impact, Deep Impact mission control exploded, like the impactor, but with cheers and clapping from the many team members watching the event. Yes, just watching because the impactor had been under its own control and mission control was a backseat driver. Relief and big smiles were on everyone's faces. Images from the flyby spacecraft looked just like the ones on the multitude of animations on the Deep Impact Home site: http://deepimpact.jpl.nasa.gov/. These animations are by another Imagiverse interviewee, Dan Maas of Maas Digital (see http://www.imagiverse.org/interviews/danmaas/dan_maas_05_11_02.htm). A bright glare with beautiful shining ejecta looked to be almost the size of half the comet itself. Be sure to check the Deep Impact Home site for up to the minute images from the impactor prior to impact and the flyby spacecraft as it recorded the formation of the crater. Don't forget to look at the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes and Chandra X-ray Observatory sites as well.
Congratulations to the whole Deep Impact team! Incredible!
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- 4 July 2005
4 July 2005
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