36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 34 Comets: Nuclei, Tails, Solar Wind
Poster II, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 4:15-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[34.01] The Deep Impact Earth-Based Observing Campaign

K. J. Meech (IfA), M. F. A'Hearn (UMD), C. M. Lisse, H. A. Weaver (Johns Hopkins Univ.), N. Biver (Obs. de Paris-Meudon), L. Woodney (Univ. Cent. FL)

Prior to the selection of the comet 9P/Tempel 1 as the Deep Impact mission target, the comet was not well-observed. From 1999 through the present there has been an intensive world-wide observing campaign designed to obtain mission critical information about the target nucleus, including the nucleus size, albedo, rotation rate, rotation state, phase function, and the development of the dust and gas coma. To date, we have obtained data on 226 nights using 13 telescopes at 9 ground-based observatories world-wide. The Deep Impact mission is unique in that part of the mission observations will rely on an Earth-based (ground and orbital) suite of complementary observations of the comet just prior to impact and in the weeks following the impact as new activity develops. In order to educate the astronomical community about both the science goals of the Deep Impact mission, as well as the technical challenges, the spacecraft observing constraints, and the desired ground-based observations, a series of community workshops have been conducted. At the time of encounter, the impact will be observable in dark skies from longitudes as far west as New Zealand, and as far east as Arizona. Latitudes farther north than 50 deg. will not be able to observe the comet at all. A world-wide coordinated effort for these observations as developed through the workshops is described.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.